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How to Prune a Red Leaf Maple Tree

By Tara Dooley ; Updated September 21, 2017
Red leaf maples turn red in the fall.

Red leaf maples get their name from the fall color of the leaves. It isn't always a bright red because of conditions but usually is some shade of it. Maple trees typically have a nice shape and don't need pruning, but sometimes disease, storm damage or obstructions require it. When you need to trim a branch, make sure to take precautions to keep yourself and those nearby safe.

Prune dead tree limbs with a tree trimmer. They should be cut off near the trunk so they do not rot and fall causing damage or injury, but do not cut right up against the trunk because you might cut into it and damage the tree base. Make your cut 1 or 2 inches out from the trunk.

Trim off damaged or diseased tree limbs with a tree trimmer or loppers. Locate a joint a foot below the damaged area and cut the branch off at an angle at a joint. This keeps the tree directing nutrients toward healthy areas.

Prune branches for shaping purposes in the winter. The red maple typically shapes well on its own, but if you are trying to keep the branches away from something or have a branch that has grown larger than branches below it, the cold months are a perfect time to trim. Cut branches off near the trunk if they are too large. Take as little as possible when trying to get branches away from objects such as power lines.


Things You Will Need

  • Tree trimmer
  • Loppers
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection


  • Always wear protective gear such as eye protection and gloves. Remove objects that could be damaged by a falling branch.

About the Author


Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.