Not Just For Japanese Homes: Tips For Planting And Maintaining A Japanese Maple Tree

Posted on: 8 June 2016


You most likely clean and maintain your home's exterior to protect its look and value, but you should also focus on the landscaping around your house. Considering a good landscape can increase your home value by an estimated 28 percent, planting flowers, shrubs, and trees around your yard is a smart investment. Of course, you may not know where to begin when choosing elements for your landscape.

The Japanese maple tree adds color, texture, and shade to your yard, but many homeowners believe it is not suited for their specific climate. Fortunately, the Japanese Maple tree is an excellent option for most climates. Using this guide, you will understand how to plant and care for the appealing Japanese maple tree.

Planting 101

The Japanese maple tree can be a great accent in a landscaping bed, but its rich, lush foliage can also become a focal point of your entire yard. When choosing a location for your tree, opt for a spot of your yard that receives full sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon and evening.

To ensure successful growth, make sure the tree has well-drained soil. This will allow the tree's roots to establish themselves and grow into the ground.

The foliage of the Japanese maple is very delicate, so you should also plant the tree in a location that blocks gusts of wind. Avoid planting on the side of your house that gets the most wind, unless you have a fence or larger trees to protect the Japanese maple from the strong gusts of wind. 

Once you find a location, dig a hole that is a few times larger than the Japanese maple's root ball. Use your hands to massage the root ball and soil of the tree. This will loosen up the roots before you place the tree into the ground. Place the root ball into the ground and surround with soil and compost. Pack the soil in tightly around the root ball. Surround the tree's base with mulch or pine straw and water generously.

Maintenance 101

In the summer, water the newly-planted Japanese maple tree every other day. In the fall, water the tree every few days. Once the tree has established itself into the ground, you can reduce the amount of water the tree receives. However, the soil and mulch surrounding the Japanese maple should remain moist at all times to prevent the foliage from drooping.

Your Japanese maple tree should not be fertilized until after the first year of installation. After this time, watch the tree closely to monitor its growth. If the tree's twigs grow less than 6 inches in a year's time, it should be fertilized. In addition, applying fertilizer will be necessary if the tree drops its leaves before the fall season.

When selecting fertilizer, choose a slow-release version that offers the following important vitamins and nutrients:

  • Nitrogen – Essential for promoting twig and leaf growth, nitrogen is an imperative part your tree's fertilization.
  • Phosphorus – Phosphorus will keep the underlying soil and the tree's foliage healthy and strong.
  • Potassium – Your Japanese maple will also require potassium, which regulates the absorption of other nutrients to promote growth and increase the tree's strength.

Consider using a concentrated fertilizer that can be mixed with water before spraying directly onto the tree's base.

In the fall, prune your Japanese maple using traditional pruning shears. Use the pruning shears to make angled cuts, trimming away dead twigs and branches. After fertilizing and pruning, surround the tree with fresh mulch or pine straw.

The Japanese maple tree is a great option for your landscape. With this guide, you will understand how to properly plant and maintain the attractive Japanese maple tree in your yard. For more advice, contact a landscaping company like Boyer WH.