How to Prune Bigleaf Maple


Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) trees grow to an average of 50 feet tall but can get as high as 100 feet tall. It is an excellent shade tree and can grow in many soils, from moist to dry. The leaves are shiny, with dark green tops and there are small, greenish-yellow flowers that bloom in the early Spring. Prune bigleaf maple trees to keep them as healthy as possible. An occasional trim will also improve their shape.

Step 1

Cut smaller branches with hand pruners and use a pruning saw for larger branches. Chain saws work on those that are more than 6 inches in diameter.

Step 2

Climb a ladder and check out the shape of the tree. If there are branches that are too long or too close together, cut them with the pruning saw. Place the cut at the V-shaped connection it shares with another branch.

Step 3

Use pruning saw to clear moderate crowding. This will reduce forking and branching, along with promote the tree to self-prune. Remove any branches that are facing the ground, from the bottom of the tree.

Step 4

Remove tree branches that are damaged or diseased as soon as you see them. Fungi is a major source of decay for bigleaf maple but the problem can be curbed by cutting off the branches where they meet healthy limbs.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't remove more than 25 percent of the bigleaf maple's crown. This can cause damage to the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Pruning saw
  • Chain saw
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Ladder


  • USDA Forest Service
  • British Columbia
  • Oregon State University
Keywords: prune bigleaf maple, trim bigleaf maple, remove tree branches

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.