The genus Acer contains many wonderful ornamental trees and shrubs, plus a few duffers. Now is the hour to attend to any remedial pruning, as they’re prone to bleeding sap at other times of year. With the Japanese decorative forms, the work can usually be achieved with a pair of secateurs, although the wise pruner has loppers and a banana saw in reserve. For the tree forms, a bow saw, or indeed a chainsaw, may be required, but that’s skilled work for the experienced professional. Throughout the formative exercise, stand back periodically to review progress and effect. SCD

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