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Dave guides you through the process of pruning a Japanese maple tree.
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Hi! I am Dave Epstein. This is Growing Wisdom. We are standing in front of a wonderful cut leaf Japanese maple. A smaller variety and it does need pruning. Right now, this looks kind of like a bush and I want it to really look like a miniature tree. I want to bring a little bit of a Japanese element into it. We are going to limit it up a little bit so that we can see the trunk. We are also going to start to thin it out. We are going to let a little bit of light in here. We are going to take out some of the branches that cross. We are going to take out any dead branches that we find and we are going to bring it in a little bit. So, we are going to sort of shorten the length of some of these branches that are starting to grow into this particular barberry here and we want to remove some of those limbs that are doing that to let that plant have a little bit more form and structure to it as well. So, you know what, we really just have to get to work.
So, I am under here and this branch right here. What I want to do is I want to bring this branch up a little bit by taking it off. What I like to do is make a cut and then back away and look at what the difference is. So, I am just going to cut a piece of this off like that. Then I want to see what that looks like. I am going to step back and we have created a little hole there. What we are doing is we are bringing up a bottom of the tree from the ground, raising it, because we want to see that trunk and give it more of a tree-like look. When do you do this? When is the good time? You know, I like to do this during the middle to the latter half of the summer. I still need that there needs to be taken out. So, I am going to go back under there. Do you see it? It is starting to open up. You do not want to do this quickly with something so delicate. You will take out the wrong branch. You will not kill the tree. You certainly will not hurt it because it is going to take a couple of years to go back and fill back in if you make the wrong cut.
If I raise this here, that enables me to see that trunk a little better. Notice, you do not see the trunk and there it is behind there. I got a small hand saw. That is done! The reason I prune underneath and not from the top down is that these are the older branches under here. So, I want to take out the older branches not those new ones. And there are some dead wood under here, so we are removing that. This will also help, so that during the winter, I do not have the way to the snow on all these branches. This branch kind of just grows in such an odd direction, let me get rid of that because I do not like the way it is growing. It is not nice and straight. It is not weeping. I am also going to bring down the height of this a little bit. I got some of these branches which are have just grown straight up, so we want to take those down as well to continue to give it this nice weepy form.
So, just to summarize we have taken a plant which wants to weep. It is actually weep to the ground. We brought it up a little bit. We have exposed that nice trunk and we have given it more of an artistic feeling.
Now, you are watching growingwisdom.com. But perhaps you are watching our video from one of our other affiliate sites, we want you to go to growingwisdom.com where we have over 200 videos to help you with your garden. I am Dave Epstein. This is Growing Wisdom.