The best time to prune maple trees

Updated February 16, 2017

Maple trees are long-lived deciduous trees that provide shade, as well as shelter for animals. Prune them annually to maintain their size and improve health. Large, mature maple trees should be pruned by a professional tree pruner.

Dormant Season

Prune maple trees when they are dormant, from mid to-late winter, according to Colorado State University Extension. They heal more quickly and are less prone to infestations by disease and pests. The branches are also more visible when the leaves are gone.

Dead or Diseased Branches

Remove dead or diseased branches anytime, advises Maple Info website. Prune out only those limbs that are affected, though, to encourage quick healing and prevent winter damage.


Maple trees "bleed" or ooze sap when they are pruned, which may leave a mess on sidewalks or cars. Researchers disagree about whether the oozing sap is harmful to trees. Pruned trees ooze less in late fall and early winter, so concerned gardeners may choose to prune during this period, advises West Virginia Gardening, although it is the least desirable time to prune.

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About the Author

Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."