I have some dead branches on my Japanese maple. When is it safe to prune those away from the tree?
Anytime is the right time. Never leave dead branches on any plant. They can harbor insects or disease, as well as slow down re-growth of the plant. Anytime you see dead branches, get out the pruners and remove them – anytime.
The lower branches on my trees are hanging down and have become too low. When is the best time to remove those to limb up the tree?
Once again, whole branch removal can be done anytime. Remember, for larger branches, remove most of the branch working from the outside in the get rid of the extra weight. Then make your final cut with just a short piece of the branch remaining. And make sure your leave the branch collar in tact – that’s the swollen area around the branch where it grows out of the tree trunk. That branch collar is responsible for sealing that cut over when you’re finished. Make sure it’s a smooth clean cut, and remember, do not use tree paint or tree wound dressing on this cut. It actually slows down the sealing process. Just let the branch collar seal it over naturally.