Best time to trim branches on a Maple?

playinginthedirtJuly 21, 2009

Hello all.

The neighbor's maple tree (I think it's a silver maple) overhangs our backyard. We have a ordinance that says we can trim trees that overhang onto our property even though the tree itself is on someone else's property so I'm safe there. The limb in questions is about 3-4 inches in diameter and is the middle limb of 3 that branch off from one juncture It's small enough for me to handle myself. My question is when is the best time of year to remove a limb of this size? The reason for the removal is for looks and to let in a little more sun for the grass.

Thanks for the help.

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Will you be able to remove the entire branch by making a pruning cut just outside the branch bark ridge and collar? If you will be able to properly remove the limb, the best time to do so is late winter or early spring. By making the cut at that time, the tree will be able to start covering over the wound soon after the cut is made. This will minimize the negative impact to the tree. BTW, don't worry about sap bleeding from the wound; it will not hurt the tree.

If you will only be able to chop the limb off at the property line, it's not going to make a lot of difference when you do it. The tree will be unable to cover the wound and will suffer from the procedure regardless of timing. If this is your only option, chopping the limb off in mid to late summer might reduce regrowth to some extent.

I would recommend talking to your neighbor and working with them to arrange for proper removal of the entire limb.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 6:04PM
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Dan Staley

Agreed with Brandon. As an urban forester and planner, this is a very common issue. The preferred method is to work with the neighbor and make a proper cut, as the likelihood for the entire limb to fail is high if a cut is made at the property line. If the neighbor isn't amenable, make a proper cut and do it any time.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 9:59PM
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Good thing that Silver Maple is in your backyard. Hopefully you do not have pets or children who play back there on windy days, who could be harmed once a limb that size snaps off after a strong wind or ice storm has weakened it enough for the next soft breeze to make it break.

Of course in your climate the silver maple in question, might have grown slower than they do in my area. If so that tree also might not present such a threat as what I just described.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 8:10PM
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