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How to Prune Trident Maple

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

Trident maple trees (Acer buergeranum) can grow as high as 45 feet tall and 30 feet wide. They are slow to moderate growers that need sun and well drained soil. The leaves are simple and turn into bright fall colors later in the season than other maples. They cope with wind, salt and drought well but may become damaged in ice storms. Trident maple's crown grows in a low and spreading fashion. It's relatively low maintenance which makes it a favorite porch or street tree. Pruning trident maple is essential to develop a strong structure and improve the tree's health.

Use pruning shears to cut off new shoots and growth. Make clean cuts without tearing the bark. Saw off thicker limbs and branches with a pruning saw.

Remove weak, broken, diseased and dead limbs as soon as you notice them. Cut them off where they connect with other limbs, making the cut on healthy wood.

Prune major lateral branches to prevent them from becoming weak. Cutting them off will keep them from growing larger than half the diameter of the trident maple's main trunk.

Trim off any limbs attached with weak crotches, or small angles. Also remove shoots that are competing with the trunk or central leader of the tree. Double or multiple leaders weaken the trident maple and could cause it to split apart.

Climb the ladder and look through the canopy for limbs that are blocking sunlight and air circulation from getting to other branches. Remove those that are crossing or rubbing against each other.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Pruning saw


  • Use gloves when pruning trees.


  • Do not overly prune maple trees. Removing too much of the foliage will cause damage.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.