Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: Richland, WA

Maple Checkup (Photos Attached)

I've recently moved to Richland, WA (Eastern Washington) and have young maple tree (of some sort) in the back yard. This is probably the best tree I have been left by the previous owners. The house was built in 2005 so I can assume that the tree was planted some time since then.

My questions are:
1) When should I prune (late dormancy or mid-summer)? I plan on pruning all of my trees in the late winter, but before spring (probably early February).
2) Is this tree over crowded with limbs? It looks like it needs thinned out to me.
3) Should I spread any of the limbs out?
4) Are my proposed pruning cuts / spreader bars reasonable/needed? Please make recommendations…

Attached are photo's of the tree. The first and second photos are unedited and show the tree from two different perspectives. The third photo shows my proposed pruning cuts (in red) with spreaders in orange.

We are zone 7 (although, probably closer to a high 6). My soil is like beach sand when I dig. I have plenty of water available, but this is a desert (hot summers, cold winters with minimal precip ~7 inches a year). At the recommendation of the local nursery, I added soil amendments to try to help the tree (cutting out grass around the base) and mixing native soil with compost. I've also staked it to help with our high spring winds.

Thank you in advance for the help.


Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

There seem to be a lot of double branches so prune the weakest ones out. Topping the tree out is fine. Also like the redbud dig a trench around the dripline and backfill with compost or manure because many people do not.

User avatar
Senior Member
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:39 am
Location: Las Cruces, NM

This kind of pruning is kinda preferential. If you want a more compact, dense tree don't prune any but the lower branches. If you want a more lofty open tree do some thinning. Don't think about how the tree looks now, think about what those branches are going to be doing 9 or 10 years from now.

Return to “Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges”