If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? We’re not sure, but if it falls in your backyard it definitely will. So you need to take care of your trees as well as possible.
If you have maple trees, you know that they’re beautiful – but you also know that they’re going to require some pruning, or things are going to get a little bit messy. Whether you’re new to pruning maple trees or you’re a certified expert, you’re still going to want to know these tips and tricks to make the experience as efficient as possible.
Why Is Pruning Maple Trees Important?
Wait, so what’s the point? Pruning maple trees is important for the health of the tree. Maple trees have abundant foliage that can brighten up your lawn in the autumn time, and give you all the shade you could ask for during the summer.
But if you don’t practice pruning your maple trees, they’ll look unkempt, and nobody wants that. Pruning the tree also helps to re-energize it, and allow it to keep producing new growth while preventing disease.
If you don’t have the proper equipment, it’s best to leave the pruning of large and established trees to a professional. You’ll need well-maintained pruning shears and, depending on the maturity of your tree, a pole saw to help with extending your reach. If you do in fact have all these tools, then you’re going to want some extra know-how to go along with them.
1. Start By Pruning Dead Branches
Before you begin pruning maple trees, conduct an overall inspection of the health of the trees. You should be able to spot which branches are dead and weak fairly easily, but there are a few telltale signs you can look out for.
Oftentimes, dead branches don’t have any leaves where other branches have healthy green leaves. On the other hand, if the tree is bare, a dead branch may have leaves still clinging to it.
Any type of fungus on the tree branch is also a fairly certain sign of dead wood. Also, if the tree is void of bark, that can also tell you it’s time to prune the tree because new healthy layers of bark haven’t replaced the old bark.
If you shake a branch, you can tell if the branch is weak. Healthy wood should be pliable and bend well. Dead wood has the tendency to snap more easily.
2. Get The Timing Right
When it comes to pruning most trees, a little before springtime is prime time for pruning. However, this is only generally speaking. It’s usually good practice to prune the tree prior to it producing a bud in order to help it produce more fruit and blooms. But with a maple tree, you should wait slightly longer than usual.
Maple trees produce their famous sap, and if you want to tap the tree to make syrup, it’s a good idea to wait until the leaves fully develop. The sap will be a particular obstacle for your saw or shears.
Sometimes, your tree can get a little weepy. Don’t worry – this is normal for maple trees. If you’ve pruned an area and sap is flowing from it, the healing process for the spot will be slightly slower than a less sappy area. This is why timing your tree pruning until later in the spring or in the summer is important.
3. Start With The Largest Branches
The order is important when it comes to pruning maple trees. You’ve got the branches picked out that you want to prune, and you’ve waited until the right time to prune the tree. Now that it’s time to actually prune, start with the largest branches of the tree first.
Make sure that when you make the cut, it’s the cleanest possible cut you can make so that not too much bark is removed from the healthy parts of the tree. Cut about one foot from the main part of the trunk, then remove the remaining stub of the branch after the main branch has been cut. It’s important not to leave a stub because that means you’re leaving the dead wood on the tree.
Remember – don’t get carried away! Think of it much like you’re giving your tree a haircut. Whatever you cut, you can’t put back. If you do over prune your tree, you’ll have to wait for the branches to grow back and next time try not to overdo your pruning job.
4. Thin It Out
Once you’ve gotten rid of the unnecessary dead branches by pruning them away, you can begin to shape your tree. Thin the smaller branches to permit more light in through the foliage of the tree.
This process will help your tree to photosynthesize and grow stronger and healthier. When you thin the foliage of your tree, you not only make it healthier but also you should shape it how you want it to look on your landscape.
5. Go The Extra Mile
If you’ve got maple trees, you know they’re pliable and strong. That means they can be decorated with tree houses, swings, or any other suitable decor you’d like to place. Pruning your tree can be a good time to plan for making any additions to the tree.
When shaping the tree, you can look for limbs that would be suitable for placing items like swings or tree houses. If you don’t have a suitable branch, you can also guide young branches by bending them gently and using ropes and stakes to guide it into growing into the desired shape.
Once your pruning is completed, you’ll be ready to enjoy your beautiful maple tree in no time, having shaped it to produce the shade and the branches that suit your liking.
If You Need A Little More Help
Did you get all that? You’re all set to get out there and trim your trees and keep them looking healthy and beautiful. But sometimes, you just don’t have the right equipment for the job.
Either that or you really just don’t have the time. We’ve got both those things, and our tree trimming experts can help you with everything from simple tree pruning to assessing your trees and letting you know their health, or whether it’s time for removal.