With their remarkable diversity of color, form, and texture, Japanese Maples are unlike any other garden trees. Their radiant beauty, and timeless charm adds drama to any landscape setting. Japanese Maples are generally grouped by Form (upright, mounding, or dwarf/bush types) Color (green, red, or variegated) and Leaf Characteristics (long narrow lobed leaves, and dissected/laceleaf leaves).
Sunlight: Japanese Maples thrive in full sun to part shade. If you are planting a red Japanese Maple, a good balance of full sun with some shade for protection from harsh summer sunlight is recommended to prevent sunburn and tip browning during mid to late summer. Japanese Maples will grow in partial shade, however they may not develop their characteristic color and may remain greenish-red.
Soil: Japanese Maples require well-drained soil and can not tolerate soggy-wet (clay) sub-soils. This is critical to prevent winter injury. Before planting, loosen the soil, and incorporate a generous amount of organic matter, such as sphagnum peat moss, or compost and perlite into a minimum 5’ diameter area.
Watering: Japanese Maples respond well to normal watering techniques. Water deeply twice a week or more often if it is a newly planted tree. It is especially important to keep the soil moist during the hot summer months.
Mulching: A layer of mulch around the drip-line of the tree will reduce weeds and improve water retention. Mulch also will protect the trees roots from prolonged freezing conditions.
Pruning: Major pruning should be done during the dormant season from late November to February. Corrective pruning to remove dead branches, any branches that cross each other, and shoots growing out the trunk can be done over the summer months.
Fertilizing: Japanese Maples do not demand large amounts of nutrients. An application of Holly-Tone Fertilizer applied in early spring, just prior to leaves emerging will provide enough feeding for the entire season.
Note: A common problem with Japanese Maples is leaf tip burn or dropping of its leaves. This often results due to too much fertilizer, too much or too little water or stress. Under stressful conditions you may find the Maple dropping all its leaves. Do not panic, Japanese Maples have a second set of leaves waiting to come out!