Best time to ‘lighten’ Japanese maples – the job should be done ‘carefully’ with ‘care’

To do this, make a cut just above two pairs of strong shoots. After this initial winter pruning, the RHS says to shorten these twigs by about a third to encourage them to branch in spring.

In the second winter, prune dead or damaged shoots while shortening the main shoots. The following winter, remove very few branches and twigs growing in the center of the tree.

For gardeners who want to plant Acer, now is also the best time to do so. The RHS explained: “Plant from early autumn through to winter, usually from October to March. These slow-growing little trees are ideal for smaller gardens, but can make a great feature in any garden.

“Japanese maples are hardy but do best in a location sheltered from strong winds. Varieties with red and purple leaves need some sun to fully develop their deep color.

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