Japanese maple trees come in two major types: laceleaf and upright maple trees. If heavy sap flow occurs, pruning should be delayed until it stops or wait until midsummer. So now let’s assume that you have a fairly mature weeping Japanese maple in your yard that really hasn’t been pruned, or hasn’t been pruned properly. As a maple tree, the Japanese Laceleaf will bleed or ooze sap. Pruning Laceleaf Trees. When maples are pruned in late winter or early spring the wounds can be more damaging. Pruning Japanese Maples by Michelle Le Strange, UC Master Gardener One of the most favorite trees in the home landscape is the lovely Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum). Some gardeners don’t like pruning this species at all, but this will result in too much foliage. If heavy sap flow occurs, pruning should be delayed until it stops or wait until midsummer. Because the bones of this tree are important to its overall beauty, you’ll want to keep many of … Laceleaf-maple pruning is often called “shell pruning” because, when done correctly, the top layer of branches forms a protective veil of foliage over the plant that resembles a shell. Wanted! After planting, prune out broken branches and those with weak or narrow crotches. A certain number of branch tips will have died back and these tips can be snapped off with your fingers, or larger branches can be cut with a pruning tool. Now here are my specific tips for pruning a laceleaf Japanese maple: When I approach a laceleaf maple (or any tree or shrub that I’m about to prune), I first walk around the tree to study its branches, silhouette and overall shape and structure. They will outgrow their good health, becoming so dense that interior growth begins to die. Examine the tree. Your email address will not be published. Prune away deadwood and overlapping branches while directing any buds you see in the right direction. Occasionally it is also referenced as cutleaf Japanese maple or threadleaf Japanese maple. Heavy sap flow can lead to disease invasion and weakening of the tree. I have had frequent questions on pruning techniques and optimal pruning times of year for the Japanese Laceleaf Maple, and thought I would briefly list some info that could be helpful. On the other hand, some gardeners are fond of pruning too much, which will result in very little foliage. I recommend pruning maples between mid-July and August, a period when sap won’t run from cuts. People Who Would Like to Get Paid for Growing, http://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2015/11/moving-a-large-laceleaf-weeping-japanese-maple-tree/, https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2020/01/why-is-one-side-of-my-japanese-maple-or-just-one-large-branch-completely-dead/, 5 Design Tips–Pruning Small Trees | Real Life Garden Solutions. Fall and winter are a common time to prune and shape most deciduous trees and shrubs, but not the Japanese Laceleaf! On the other hand, some gardeners are fond of pruning too much, which will result in very little foliage. Pruning a Japanese maple tree is not necessarily difficult, but may be intimidating at first — particularly for a weeping or “laceleaf” cultivar (Acer palmatum Var. Maples should be given a thorough pruning every three years and minor “touch up” pruning annually. Both types have a natural and harmonized flow with intricate branch growing patterns. If you have a laceleaf Japanese maple (or a weeping Japanese maple), then its branches won’t only grow upward. As a maple tree, the Japanese Laceleaf will bleed or ooze sap. If left to grow, this shoot will take over and out-compete the main tree. Look for leaves or branches that look like they just don’t belong. Gardeners belonging to the second group tend to prune too much and end up with very little. Lace-leaf weeping Japanese red maple trees (Acer palmatum dissectum) are native to China, Korea and Japan, and are grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. The weeping Japanese Maple is a beautiful tree with its low arching branches reaching to the ground. It is commonly known as weeping Japanese maple tree or laceleaf Japanese maple. THE DISSECTED JAPANESE MAPLE: This type of Japanese maple should not be left unattended. When maples are pruned in late winter or early spring the wounds can be more damaging. Japanese maples crave sunlight on all of their parts, which is an excellent key to pruning. Pruning a Mature Lace Leaf Weeping Japanese Maple. Tips for Pruning Your Japanese Laceleaf Maple Tree. Terms of Service. The trees should not be pruned during early spring when buds are breaking, during leaf expansion, or in late autumn because the wounds won’t have enough time to heal before winter conditions of freezing or dampness. Pruning the Laceleaf Japanese Maple tree is a bit more complicated than pruning the uprights. The two main types are lace leaf and upright. With young trees, leave some of the lower limbs and sprouts even though they will be removed later. Pruning the Laceleaf Japanese Maple tree is a bit more complicated than pruning the uprights. These limbs provide the closest source of food energy for root development. Japanese laceleaf maple trees prefer rich, well-drained acidic soil, plenty of moisture, and minimal fertilizer and pruning. They’ll also grow downwards and to the sides. Heavy sap flow can lead to disease invasion and weakening of the tree. Removing too much top affects the production of food energy (carbohydrates) and can result in poor root development. This is not only unattractive but opens the tree to opportunistic disease pathogens, as well. It is native to Japan, Korea and China. They are a popular ornamental tree in the Pacific Northwest. I have also found that trees will form a stronger trunk if the lower branches are not trimmed for a few years. We choose and plant this tree because we’ve seen its delicate form, graceful elegance, and the character of its branches enhancing many established landscapes. Some gardeners don’t like pruning this species at all, but this will result in too much foliage. 1. Remove any shoots growing from the base of the plant whose leaves look different from the rest of the plant. Many maples are grafted onto an understock that in most cases will be more vigorous than the grafted scion. It’s time to thin your Japanese laceleaf maple tree — just don’t go crazy with the pruning shears Originally published January 10, 2018 at 7:00 am Updated January 11, 2018 at 10:09 am The trick to pruning this type of Japanese maple is to allow its top layer to form a sort of canopy over the entire tree. Laceleaf Japanese maples are slightly more complicated than their upright cousins. 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