Maple trees are surely a favorite in the United States. Their wood is straight and true, and they produce tasty sap that can be used to make maple syrup. Maple trees do, however, have specific requirements and preferences when it comes to trimming. If you have a maple on your property, it's important to know what these requirements are so that you can do what is best for your tree.
Prune in the summer
Most trees should be pruned in the winter or spring. However, maple trees — especially sugar maples — tend to lose a lot of sap when pruned at this time of year. The leaking sap can attract insects, and losing that much sap is also not good for the tree. A better time to prune maples is actually in the middle of the summer when the sap is not flowing so freely. Insects that feed on sap are a bit less active in the heat of summer, and the tree won't suffer so much from a loss of sap.
Leave space between branches
Maple trees have big leaves, and those leaves grow really densely on the tree. For this reason, it is important to trim the tree in a way that leaves plenty of space between branches. This allows for more airflow between the leaves and branches, so the leaves dry out faster after a rainstorm. Wet leaves are prone to fungal infections, so trimming in this manner keeps the tree healthier. If there are any branches crossing over one another or growing directly parallel to one another, remove one of them; this will create more space for good airflow.
Sanitize after every branch
A lot of the fungal diseases that do affect maple trees can affect just a few branches without affecting others. But trimming can easily spread disease from an infected branch to a healthy one if you are not careful. To prevent this from happening, make sure you sanitize your shears after every cut. You can use a weak bleach and water solution or just rubbing alcohol. Just keep a bucket nearby so you can dunk the blades easily.
Maple trees do require pruning, but you have to be careful about how that pruning is done in order to avoid harming the tree. Follow the tips above, and if you have any additional questions or concerns, reach out to a tree trimming service like DeClue & Sons Tree Care, Inc.