Pruning your maple tree will give it a beautiful and polished look. Maple trees are very popular in colder northern climates because it can handle cold weather very well. The best time to prune the maple tree is in either the middle of winter when it is fully dormant, or in the middle of summer when it is fully leafed out. If you prune in the early spring or fall, the maple tree will "bleed" quite a bit. While this does not harm the tree it can be very messy.
Remove any dead or dying branches with your handsaw. Cut them off approximately 1 inch away from the living trunk or branch. Doing this first will allow you to see the shape of your maple tree better.
Prune off any large branches that look like they might be in danger of breaking. Cut these branches off 1 foot from the trunk of the tree and at a slight angle.
Prune off the outer tips of the maple tree branches to form it to the desired shape. Make these cuts at a slight angle.