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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Prune A Maple Sapling

Dip the blades of your pruning shears or loppers into or wipe them down with rubbing alcohol. Dispose of any diseased portions of the maple that you remove, as well as fallen leaves that show symptoms of disease, in the trash or an area well away from the maple and other desirable vegetation. Cut of branches emerging from the maple sapling's main trunk selectively, making each cut next to a branch collar, to create a strong framework of scaffold branches. Perform this and other annual pruning in late fall or early winter.


Prune bigleaf maple in late autumn to mid winter. This is the species' dormant season, so pruning will not interfere with the tree's growth.

Wear gloves and goggles as protection.


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

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