I have a 3 year old red maple that is in need of pruning/shaping. It has a strong 3 branch intersection about one third up the tree with many (a dozen or so) smaller branches under it. Am I right in thinking that if these smaller branches are trimmed off, the strength of growing would be directed to the top two thirds, giving it height and spread? If so, when is the best time to do this trimming?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
A maple’s natural form is a rounded so go ahead and prune to meet your needs. Since they need very little pruning, you should only 'train' for developing a leading shoot, which will eventually become the dominant shoot that establishes the tree's framework. Maples should not be pruned in spring and will bleed profusely if this is done. Therefore, it is best to wait to until late summer or early autumn to prune, and only on a young tree.