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How to Prune Amur Maple


Plant your amur maple in front of dense, dark evergreens to provide a contrasting background for its fall show of color. Avoid planting this tree near walkways and patios because the winged red seeds may build up in summer and fall. Locate amur maples at the edge of a small pond or water feature to enjoy the fiery red reflection in fall. Use mounding evergreen ground covers and shrubs, like junipers or Japanese boxwood, underneath this tree to accentuate the foliage display and hide leaf litter. Plant bright yellow fall blooming plants, like Maximillian’s sunflower or dwarf chamisa, near your amur maple for an eye-popping display.

Amur maple is a medium-sized tree that's native to Manchuria and Japan. Its large, deeply lobed leaves turn a brilliant, clear red in fall. In spring, it produces masses of small, yellow flowers that are highly fragrant. Amur maple has an elegant, compact form and often grows from multiple trunks. The natural shape of this lovely maple is quite attractive with only minimal pruning. However, you can train it as a standard with a single trunk or even prune it into a tall shrub, if desired. Follow these easy steps to keep your amur maple in shape.

Remove all dead or diseased wood with a pruning saw or loppers in mid-to-late summer. Cut away any crossing branches, unless they are especially aesthetically pleasing. If you want to enjoy amur maple’s natural form, this is all the pruning you’ll need to do to keep your tree healthy.

Train your multi-trunked maple into a standard by removing all but the largest, healthiest trunk at the base with sharp loppers. Choose young trees with trunks no larger than one to two inches in diameter. Secure the tree to a tall stake that is firmly planted in the ground. Watch for new sprouts at the base of the tree for the next several seasons and remove them while they are small.

Prune the tree into a tall, multi-stemmed shrub by shearing off the top few inches of the branches on the top and sides. Do not remove any branches at the ground level. This is a gradual process, best undertaken when the tree is still young. If your amur maple is already large, prune only a few inches of woody growth each year, over several years, to avoid harming the tree. Leave ample room for growth because maples pruned this way tend to spread horizontally.

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