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Pruning Acer


I am a novice gardener. We have three Acers. About 18 months ago, we had two gardeners come to tidy our garden. They trimmed the ends of the acers, consequently they have sprung a lot of side shoots, which have completely spoilt the shape of the tree. We asked the advice from specialist shrub growers, who advised going back to the main branch and cutting out the off shoots. I have done some in January, but is this the correct thing to do? How can we get our lovely acers back to their former glory. Is it just a matter of time?

Thank you for any help you can give



  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053

    I am not an expert by any means, but I cut and shaped mine back in November. This stops them bleeding and they should never be bandaged.

    So far so good, but I have covered them in plant bags, having lost a couple of young ones to late frosts. 

    I would let the side shoots grow (which shouldn't happen if pruned at the correct time) and prune them in November.

    There are other forum members who might give better advice.

    SW Scotland
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,974

    A photo may help to see what needs to be done, but as said above prune them only during the dormant season. I prune mine between December and January. As it's been very cold, you'll still be OK now, but don't leave it much longer

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • It doesn't sound like the gardeners you got in knew much about gardening, remember that Acer's are trees not shrubs and should be treated as such, very little pruning, i had a similar problem at a garden looked after by me, but managed by the council, they sent the hedge cutter brigade (i will not call them gardeners - because they are not) who roughly cloud pruned everything with petrol hedge cutters, Acer's, Bamboo's, dogwood etc. and it looked bloody awful

    but seeing as the damage has already been done i would thin the branches out now before the sap starts rising, Acer's do have the nasty habit of bleeding out if you prune them at the wrong time of year

    Last edited: 14 February 2018 09:02:18

  • Thank you purple rain and Pete for your advice. I will leave it as they are for now and prune at the end of the year. Should I cut out the side shoots then? Or just the tips of the main branches?

    Thank you for your help


  • Thank you treehugger80. I have taken some side shoots out early in January, but will leave anymore to be done at the end of the year. You are right about the gardeners. Thank you for your advice


  • FireFire Posts: 17,403

    I wouldn't prune them.

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