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I have a snake bark maple that has a bole diameter of about 8" also an Acer Brilliantissima with a bole diameter of over 12", both of which are growing too large for their site. Is it safe to prune them back? I would need to cut back about three feet or so all round.
Wait until all the leaves have fallen otherwise it might bleed as I suspect this is the same as what I have to do with my Acer Palmatum.
It's not a brilliant idea with acer palmatum as the smaller acers don't like hard pruning - it is much better to prune them gently and regularly. If you must prune wait until early spring.
and do think about the overall shape, cutting back 3 feet all round could leave you with a sort of blob and acers have rather a fine shape naturally.
After the first hard frosts is best. The sap will be low then. You can try hardwood cutting with the removed branches.
There was a piece about pruning Acers in a newspaper this weekend and it was stasted that Acers should be pruned very early in the year or they will bleed.
But best not to prune them at all.
@tim burr - Acer Crimson Sentry is different to Acer palmatum, a Japanese maple. Acer Crimson sentry is a palatnoide, so tall and tree like. You can prune them hard just like a fruit tree to keep them small.
I prune mine like a fruit tree, so cutting back now back to a bud, where it will bush out next year. Feel free to prune back to buds all over the tree to give it the size you want. I am not easy at pruning like so many people are, but it works on this tree and you need it to work for you It will look fine when the leaves are back in spring.