When to Prune a Red Maple Tree

By: albertaarb - May 27, 2013

A red maple can be one of the most beautiful trees you can have on your property, but they can also be one of the most difficult to prune, since their limbs grow quickly and will require you to prune it to prevent damage to your house or a nearby power line.  While most trees do not necessarily need a particular time frame for maintenance and pruning, a red maple has certain months of the year that are better for trimming.

Basic Trimming Tips for Red Maples

If you only need to remove a few branches, you can trim small branches back at any time of the year without worrying about the tree's health.  Small branches that are dead or are poking about where they should not be will not adversely affect your trees' development.  However, if you need to do more extensive trimming, you will need to wait for particular times of the year.

Sap Production in Red Maples

The reason that a maple is so highly valued amongst cultivators and pancake enthusiasts alike is that they produce the sticky sap that is turned into syrup.  This sap is developed during the late winter and early spring months when the tree needs to get nutrients up to the twigs in order to produce new buds.  While this sap is helpful for creating a barrel of syrup, it is a big problem for those who need to cut back branches.  These trees will "bleed" the sap and gunk up a saw or chainsaw.  Worse, they will drip it on anything below, whether it is a car or a lawnmower or a new hat. 

Sap and Tree Health

If you cut into a maple and find sap, you should not be discouraged, because this simply means that the tree is still healthy and will leaf in the spring.  Too much sap, however, will keep the tree from closing the cuts and recovering from the pruning, so you will want to do your pruning at times of the year when the amount of sap in the tree branches it as its lowest.  During the fall, there is almost no sap at all since its nutrients have all been absorbed into the leaves during the summer and have since fallen off.  The fall is also the best time to prune back a tree since insects are dead or dying and will not infest the pruning cuts.

If you have trees on your property that need trimming, pruning, or removal, we at Alberta Arborists offer professional tree care services. We have over 22 years of experience in providing quality residential, commercial, and municipal tree and shrub care in Alberta. We provide affordable solutions for your entire tree and shrub care needs. Our reputation is built on customer satisfaction & the quality of our workmanship.
 

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