How to Prune a Bonsai Maple Tree


The maple bonsai tree is a hardy, deciduous tree. Its foliage grows in an array of colors based on the variety. It is a vigorous growing tree that takes well to shaping and quickly adapts to pruning and trimming.

Step 1

Complete major and extensive pruning steps in the early spring, just before the growing season. Begin by repotting the maple bonsai. Remove the bonsai tree from its container. Gently remove the excessive soil from the root system and comb out the roots.

Step 2

Inspect the system thoroughly and trim away any dead or wilted roots. Trim no more than half of the root system to prevent damage or death. Repot the maple bonsai and water thoroughly after planting. Do not fertilize for at least two weeks.

Step 3

Prune the branches in the early spring. Remove unwanted foliage, branches, stems and shoots to promote the desired shape. Pinch away foliage and shoots. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears or scissors to trim away stems and branches. Remove stems and branches using an angular cut to promote rapid healing.

Step 4

Prune the maple bonsai tree lightly every four to six weeks. Pinch and prune any stems and branches that are unwanted. Immediately pinch away any dead, dying or wilted foliage. This will allow the tree the ability to redirect that energy to growth rather than repair.

Step 5

Do not over-prune. Allow the tree time to grow and develop. Be patient. Do not prune the tree every day. Do only light pruning no more than once every four to six weeks. Do major pruning in the early spring. Do not prune away all new growth simultaneously, as this will cause dieback and potential death.

Step 6

You can wire young maple bonsai trees to develop branch and trunk shapes. This should be done during the late fall, just after the growing season ends. Use thin, aluminum wire, and gently wrap it on the branches to develop shape. Keep the wire in place until just before the following growing season begins. Gently trim away the wire in small segments. Never unravel the wire, as this could cause branch breakage or other damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Scissors


  • Japanese Maple
  • Caring for Japanese Maple Bonsai
  • Trident Maple Bonsai Tree
Keywords: pruning maple bonsai tree, how to prune maple bonsai trees, maple bonsai pruning and maintenance

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994, and her writing career began with her business career. Her business has successfully assisted many clients with start-ups, development, and expansions. She has a bachelor's degree in business and has published with Identity Theft Chat, Garden Guides, eHow, Travels, Associated Content and others.