When you want to prune a shrub or tree you will grab your secateurs as the proper tool for the job, but there are times when the only tool you need is your finger.? This is particularly true with a young tree like an Acer where you want to ensure that it grows into an attractive shape. While you want branches at the top to form a head, you need to remove any small shoots from lower down the stem. If these are left they will grow into branches that will spoil the look of the tree. At this time of year these buds and small shoots can be rubbed off with a finger.
This is demonstrated by Mike McGroarty in a video which I found on his Japanese Maple Lovers website. Go to the next page to watch Mike’s video.