Pruning Maple Trees: Know Why and How to Do It. Keep the tree deeply watered at least the first 3 years. Many problems can be corrected or prevented by pruning during the formative years of a sugar maple. Knowing when and how to properly prune maple trees is essential, as improper pruning will cause more harm than good. In general, deciduous trees and shrubs should be pruned when they are dormant, preferably in early spring just before growth starts. You want the soil moist at least 12 inches down, but not sopping wet. Japanese Red Maple Trees are Usually Grown as Multi-Stem Trees. Removing of dead wood and leaves along with light pruning can be done anytime of the year. This is when the sap stops running and it is better to prune. Lawn sprinklers are not enough. When you select a maple, be sure to examine it thoroughly. A maple tree will grow fine without ever being pruned, however, pruning, especially young trees, can help to create a more dense and attractive canopy that provides better shade and visual appeal. On the other hand, if you require proper guidelines on how to prune maple trees, here is a Gardenerdy post with all the details. At this time, wound healing will begin almost at once and it will be most rapid. I used to suggest cutting them back as as soon as you get them so they fill out into multi stem trees. Twenty of the trees' whirligigs have grown to 6-8" tall. Mature maple trees can withstand light pruning during the peek sap season. As a shade tree, maples perform well thanks to a spreading, deciduous canopy of green leaves. Trim a maple sapling as soon as it begins to look “weedy”. But as a landscaping tree, maple requires a little extra care and attention. Cut the extra trunks close to the main shoot just beyond the thick branch bark ridge that runs parallel to the branch and thick “collar” that surrounds the branch. If you are working with maple saplings it is another story. There are more than 120 species of maples, including sugar maples, Japanese maples, and big leaf maples. It may look like you are hurting the tree with all the sap running out of the tree, but a mature tree can handle this. Dormant pruning will have less effect on the growth of trees than pruning when the tree is in active growth. A soaker hose in a circle around the tree is a good way to do this. Pruning deciduous trees. How will I know when to move them to next larger pots, or can I jump to much larger all at once? Maple Sapling Care Winter. Maple trees tend to "bleed" (lose sap) a lot when cut, which scares some people away from ever pruning them. I would love a couple of them in my yard. Pruning when the tree is still young is essential for the development of a healthy sugar maple with well-spaced and sturdy permanent branches that grow out of a strong, single leader, the trunk. Proper pruning alters the form and growth of a tree. How long will it take to get the tree seedlings large enough to plant in my yard? The most important thing you can do is keep the tree watered until the ground freezes. Silver maples should have only one trunk and many grow several. If this seems contradictory to what I’ve said about Japanese maple seedlings in the past, that’s because it is. First, caring for a maple sapling begins before the tree is planted. They're in 2-1/2" pots. On way to work, I pass a row of gorgeous trees in the fall. But I no longer do that with mine.