How To Care For Your Japanese Maple

Japanese Maples are remarkably adaptable to soil and climate conditions. Below are basic planting and care suggestions.

  • Select the site, then select the Japanese maple to fit that site. Ideally, when selecting a site, you want to have morning sun and afternoon shade; high shade is the next best choice. However, Japanese maples will survive in most any locale.
  • Get a soil test if possible, to determine if any soil amendments are necessary. Incorporate a little micromax and a little, if any, slow release fertilizer into the planting soil.
  • Your next consideration is the mature size of the tree. What will be the size of the tree in ten years? This knowledge will dictate how little pruning you will need. There are Japanese maples available that will absolutely meet your needs.
  • Good drainage is imperative. If you have poor drainage, consider a raised bed. Much the same is true when planting azaleas. If you have soggy roots you have a dead plant.
  • Dig your planting hole three times as wide as the rootball and slightly less deep.
  • Place the tree in the hole, with the top of the rootball slightly higher than ground level.
  • Fill the hole halfway with soil, and flood the hole with water to eliminate air pockets. (Air pockets are present when small holes appear at the surface.)
  • Finish filling the hole with soil, and flood with water again.
  • Several days later, when the soil has settled and all air pockets are eliminated, add mulch around the base of the tree. Do not pile mulch directly against the trunk of the tree.
  • The main consideration after planting is keeping the plant slightly moist for the first year. Using a drip system for watering works best. A little too dry is better than a little too wet.
  • Japanese maples are inherently healthy, so meeting the needs of the tree will result in a beautiful tree that will afford a lifetime of enjoyment.


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