Pruning Japanese Maples

Watch a free preview of Pruning Japanese Maples.

    “I just finished it a few minutes ago. I found it extremely useful. I have two weeping Japanese maples on my property. I can’t wait to use what I’ve learned on them.” –Butch W.


Pruning Japanese Maples to Unleash their Beauty

Japanese Maples are prized for their structural beauty as much as their leaf and bark colors. Learn how to prune your Japanese Maples the aesthetic way, so that they look both natural and graceful. There are two types of Japanese maples, distinguished by their growth habits: upright and weeping. While the basic pruning cuts and techniques are similar, there are important differences in the pruning strategies and goals for the different trees. This class covers how to determine and enhance the strengths of each kind of Japanese Maple, while correcting for structural problems.

The skills taught in this class will take your pruning to the next level, as you shift from the mentality of ‘just removing what’s bad’ to identifying and enhancing what is naturally beautiful. Effective pruning begins with the right tools. Master Pruner Michael Alliger discusses the tools you need, and demonstrates the three basic cuts you will use as you prune. Then watch and learn through start-to-finish demonstrations of pruning a coral barked upright tree, and a laceleaf weeping tree.
Class Time: 1 hour of video lessons.



Michael is a highly esteemed aesthetic pruner and pruning teacher, with over 25 years of experience in transforming trees. As a founding member of the nationally acclaimed pruning program at Merritt College in Oakland, CA, he has taught and inspired an entire generation of pruners. He is also a founder of the Aesthetic Pruning Association. Michael’s true gift and passion is his natural ability to find and reveal the true “essence of the tree.”

About this class

  • 3 streaming HD video lessons
  • Downloadable illustrated pruning diagrams & glossary
  • Anytime, anywhere online access


Video: Tools and Techniques

How to Prune Japanese Maples

In this segment, Michael explains the types of tools you need and demonstrates the three basic pruning cuts: thinning, heading, and re-leadering. Learn how to angle cuts for optimal healing, and how to avoid common beginner mistakes.

Video: Pruning an Upright Japanese Maple


Watch and learn as Michael prunes an entire tree, from start to finish. There are no simple, hard-and-fast rules for pruning. Instead, this video covers the practical guidelines sophisticated pruners use for assessment and action.

Video: Pruning a Weeping Japanese Maple


See a weeping Japanese Maple pruned methodically. Key lessons include how to make a temporary cut, how to reduce crossing and dead branches, and how to bring out the natural grace of the weeping form.