Reducing size of mature maples

mdrainieJuly 26, 2009

We have a perfect roof for solar panels facing directly south, however we have two attractive maples (a Norway and a Sugar) side by side in front of the house blocking the sun. Our contractor tells us they block too much for solar power to be viable.

We want to keep the trees as they limit sun coming in the south windows in summer and let it through in winter when we want it. Can we prune these trees back substantially enough to make solar work? Say 33% all dimensions including height? What is the most they can be trimmed without destroying the tree?

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

My biggest suggestion is to never top it. That's going to produce growth that will be extremely dangerous in the future. Your solution is to thin the insides of the trees out, significantly. Don't ever let anyone top your trees but rather remove entire limbs. Your case you'll want to have first off any crossing pattern branches heading toward the trunk removed first and then thin entire limbs. That's the only way to go and to preserve a tree as well as its' dignity.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 9:55AM
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Hire a certified arborist to correctly reduce the size of your trees. Since shade trees like sugar or red maples do not produce distinct leaders, it is quite possible to reduce the height without causing damage to the tree or problems later on. Generally, this is done along with a thinning of the canopy overall to reduce the total volume, much as Dax describes.

But this is work best left to a professional. They will approach it with the correct timing and methods to ensure the continued health of the trees.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 12:15PM
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