How to I shorten Maple internodes?

For a Japanese Maple in development, how do prune in such a way that I allow for strength and thickening, but I also minimize internode length? For my maples that I have right now, the internodes are too long, but I am afraid that if I cut them, the branches will stop thickening. In many cases, I cannot see a bud to cut back to, only individual petioles and leaves. Will buds form at every petiole, so as long as I leave a pair of leaves i will get a bud? Thank you!

This is a big topic - here are a few of starting points:

  • The more branches there are on the tree, the shorter the internodes. Focusing on density will help shorten internodes
  • Thickening requires loots of fertilizer and no cutback. This produces longer internodes
  • One approach is to create lots of branches first, then let them thicken so the internodes are in place
  • You can generally expect buds at internodes (where the leaves emerge) but not in between
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