The Q&A Archives: When is the best time to prune?

Question: Our 3 year old Bloodgood Japanese Maple appears to have too many branches. It seems it is time to do some thinning. What is the best time of year to do this? I really appreciate your answers to previous questions. You are a great source.

Answer: Glad we've been helpful in the past and we hope you'll visit often! Maples are typically pruned during their dormant season. In your mild winter climate, that would be during the coldest month - either January or February. Pruning encourages new growth so you'll want to wait until it's cold, but you'll also want to prune before new growth begins in the spring. If it never really gets cold in Concord, you might just want to wait until you see new leaf buds beginning to swell on the branches. This signals that the tree is ready to grow for the year. Be sure when you thin to cut the branches way back, without leaving stubs. Best wishes with your maple!

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