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trim Japanese maple

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From: Robert Dunn
Glen Carbon, IL
We planted a Japanese maple in 2006 when we built our home. IN 2007, we moved to AZ and were only in IL on holidays so the tree was left alone until we moved back this summer. It is healthy looking but has bushed out and is covering up its neighbors, a dwarf Alberta Spruce, etc. We think it needs to be trimmed but would like some advice before we try it or ask someone to do so.

Extension Message
From: Brenda Dahlfors
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
Lake/McHenry Unit
Every pruning job is different, but there are some basic rules. First, wait until late winter, so you can see what you are doing - particularly with a japanese maple, the form with or without leaves is important. Second, remove branches so that you are cutting them back to major branch angles and not just cutting anywhere. Doing this can reduce the height and width while maintaining the shape of the tree. Third, Remove any suckers, water sprouts, and branches that cross or rub. Try not to remove more than 1/5th of the crown, and if you need to remove more than that, do a little this winter, and the rest next year. Good luck!

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