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All About Japanese Maples

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada explains how to identify Japanese maple trees and how to incorporate them in a landscape design.

In this video, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada shares some facts about her favorite plant, the Japanese Maple.

What are Japanese Maples?

Also known as an acer palmatum, Japanese Maples are beautiful, ornamental, deciduous trees that come in a variety of colors and shapes. They feature red, spiked foliage and grow to about 10-20 feet tall.

Where do Japanese Maples Grow?

Japanese Maples are non-natives to the United States—they originated in Japan, the Korean Peninsula and China, and enjoy being planted in partial shade and grow in zones 5-8.

How to Prune Japanese Maples

Once these trees are matured, which typically takes about 10 to 15 years, they should be pruned every few years, usually in the summer or middle of winter. Jenn demonstrates the three-cut method for pruning branches:

  1. To prune, aim for the lower branches on the tree that seem to be tangled with other branches, or any dead branches.
  2. Remove smaller branches with bypass pruners. For larger branches, start by making a relief cut from underneath, then cut the branch all the way through from the top.
  3. Carefully cut away the stump once the weight of the branch has been removed using a pruning saw.

With little-to-no maintenance, Japanese Maples are the perfect way to add character to your landscape.


Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Stonegate Gardens.