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Should I prune my 1 year old Japanese Maple

Morning all, 

I bought this Japanese Maple last year. It was kind of left to it's own devises after the leaves came because we were building and I was only down at the house intermittently. 

You can see from the pics that some of the leaves have wilted, and some of the stems look dead, but there are plenty of buds already for next season. 

I have heard you shouldn't really prune young maples and they should just be left alone to grow. Is this true? Should I just leave it do its thing with no real care over the winter or should I prune back the dead looking stems and leaves, or give it more of a prune down to new buds?

Thank you in advance for the advice. 




  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,877
    It looks perfectly fine to me.  I'd leave it
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,690
    I would probably just remove clearly dead twigs - like in pic 3. 
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • Silver surferSilver surfer Posts: 4,714
    edited October 2019
    Apart from regularly watering Acer palmatum need very little attention.
    Yours looks very healthy...yes you will have dead is autumn...soon it will be completely bare.
    You can see the tiny dead twigs...they are a different colour from the healthy twigs
    In winter these will be dry and brittle so can be gently snapped off with your fingers.
    Otherwise leave it alone.
    Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,966
    Leave it alone, it looks good.
    In Spring remove any dead branches.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 5,262
    Agree - no need to prune. You may want to put in a larger pot next Spring (don’t upsize the pot too much when transplanting though) and ensure good drainage. 
    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    Agree, it’s fine and how it would normally look at time time with shrivelled leaves, ready to drop. I would also leave off pruning the dead looking bits until the spring as sometimes, end bits that look really dead on mine surprise me by budding. The bit at the top right of your first picture, for example, looks painted, not dead!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Thanks so much for all the replies everyone. Amazing to have so many knowledgable gardeners at hand. 
    Will leave as is so and prune the dead twigs in the spring (or try scratch the paint off  😁)

    Thanks a mil

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,895
    I've just seen this thread, and agree @Davewalsh29 - it's looking pretty good considering you havent been around to do anything major to it. Nice specimen. 
    You could pick out the little weeds and give it a wee mulch of bark or compost to keep it tidy until spring  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • dappledshadedappledshade Posts: 1,017
    Give it a good top dressing of mulch for the winter and leave, I’d agree. It won’t be happy in that sized pot for long though. Love acers 😊
  • Thanks guys. Will give it a little tidy and a mulch during the week. Is there a 'best' time to report? And what size should I be aiming for ( or should I just put it straight into the ground/what position if so?)
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