How to Grow and Care for Japanese Maple

What You'll Need
Well draining soil
All purpose fertilizer
Support stakes
Pruning shears

The Japanese maple tree is native to Japan, eastern China, Korea and Taiwan. Over the years, this tree has become popular because of its beautiful foliage that can be enjoyed through different seasons. For this reason, more people are growing Japanese maples in and around their living areas. Growing a Japanese maple can be a little difficult. However, the right growing and caring tips for these trees can make it easy and rewarding.

Step 1: Selecting the Right Seeds

There are different kinds of Japanese maple trees that are suited to live in shaded areas, dry areas and even containers. So the first thing to do is consult a professional when choosing your Japanese maple to ensure it can survive in the climate zone where it will be planted.

Step 2: Planting Your Japanese Maple

It is best to plant a Japanese maple after the winter season and frost has disappeared completely. In fact, it's best to plant and fertilize in early spring. Ensure that your Japanese maple has been planted in well-drained and moist soil. Japanese red maple trees do better when planted in acidic soil, as it helps the leaves flourish in bright red colors. Two things to remember:

  • Plant them away from thick rooted and well established trees, like oak and pine, because Japanese maples generally have shallow roots.
  • Use slow-release plant food for your Japanese maple for it to grow well.

Now that we've covered planting, here's how to care for your Japanese maple:

Step 1: Ensure Adequate Sunlight

Japanese maple trees grow best in the morning sun, but it's important that they get some shade during the afternoon, especially in places that experience hot, dry climates. In moderate temperatures, Japanese maple trees can endure the full sun very well.

Step 2: Watering the Tree

A consistent level of water for Japanese maple trees is important. For the first few months, these trees should be watered frequently and afterwards, twice a week. Early morning and late in the day are the best times to water them.

Step 3: Mulching the Soil

Putting mulch around the soil of a Japanese maple is a great idea, as it can prevent weeds from springing up. It can also help maintain the moisture level in the soil. However, ensure that the mulch does not touch the tree’s trunk.

Step 4: Supporting Young Branches

During the early stages of growth, use support stakes for propping up the thin young branches of the Japanese maple, until they are developed properly.

Step 5: Pruning Japanese Maple

Japanese maple trees do not really need to be pruned unless you want to control the size and shape of the tree. These trees respond well to pruning, which can be done by taking off diseased, weak or dead branches. This should be done either in late fall or early winter.