How to stake a japanese maple tree

How to Plant Japanese Maple Trees

With their large diversity in sizes, leaf forms, shapes and eye-catching fall colors in a range of robust hues, Japanese maple trees are sure to be the stars of the garden, adding interest all season long. Some varieties even have colorful bark. They rate as one of the most stunning and desirable trees and shrubs for gardeners everywhere. When properly planted and cared for, even beginner gardeners will have success growing Japanese maples. Continue reading because we take the mystery out of planting your Japanese maple, giving you all the tips to get it off to the best and healthiest start so it will be a show-stopper in your garden for years to come.

In a Nutshell

– Remove all the packaging
– Water the Japanese maple in its pot
– Choose a suitable planting site for the needs of your tree
– Prepare the soil
– Dig a hole the depth of the pot
– Put the Japanese maple in its hole and replace most of the soil
– Water well, let the water drain away and put back the remainder of the soil
– Place mulch around your Japanese maple and water regularly

Getting Your Japanese Maples Ready to Plant

Once your Japanese maple arrives, the first order of business is to unwrap it. Remove all the wrapping materials from around the box and around the maple itself, once you carefully remove it from its shipping container. Leave the tree in its pot until you have prepared the preferred planting site and are ready to plant.

If the Japanese maples you received were not in pots, but with their roots wrapped in burlap (which is a method called Ball & Burlap, or B&B) do not remove the wrapping until you actually plant.

If you received the Japanese maple during winter, your tree will not have any leaves. However, you can still plant as long as the ground isn’t frozen. Do not worry because this is normal for Japanese maples as they are deciduous (drop their foliage in winter) and once the warm weather of spring arrives, your tree will spring back to life with a new flush of leaves and growth.

In addition and so you don’t damage your Japanese maple, always move it around by picking up the pot. Do not lift it by the trunk or stems. If your tree arrived with the roots wrapped in burlap, lift the tree by the ropes and do not remove the burlap until you plant.

Care Before Planting Time

Once you get your tree unpacked, place it in a shady location in your garden and be sure to water well. To maintain its health and regardless if it’s cold outside, don’t place the maple in your garage, shed, or inside your home. The tree will happily live in its pot or burlap wrapping for quite a while as long as its properly cared for. The biggest thing to remember is to water the maple and not allow the soil to completely dry out. Depending on your local weather conditions, this might call for watering every day to every other day.

You can easily check the soil’s moisture by sticking your finger into soil and if the top inch feels dry, give the tree a good soaking. To keep the roots of Ball & Burlap trees moist, gently apply water to the bagged area. You do not want to water with a forceful stream or you may remove the soil from around the roots.

If your Japanese maple is going to remain in the pot or burlap for weeks before planting, you can harden it off to brighter conditions where it will be growing by gradually increasing the amount of light it receives. Just keep moving it to brighter light conditions every few days or weekly. By the time you are ready to plant, it will be adjusted to the light conditions the planting site receives.

Choosing a Planting Location

When selecting an appropriate location to plant your Japanese maple, you will want to choose a location where it will permanently grow for years to come and meet the tree’s preferred requirements for healthy growth. These trees put on a riot of color, so you might consider areas where they are focal points allowing their magnificent splendor to shine the brightest.

The first thing you will want to consider when selecting a planting site is the particular maple’s mature size and growth habits. To prevent potential problems with diseases and pests, you will want to allow adequate air circulation around the maple. This means you do not want it crowding against a wall, fence, structure, or bunched against other shrubs and trees, which also eliminates the need to prune branches that get in the way. You also do not want to plant it where it will receive strong winds.

In addition, do not plant the Japanese maple on your property line, as it can encroach on your neighbor’s property and they will have the right to prune it. Once again, consider its mature size and width and plant far enough from the property line where the tree can achieve this size and remain on your side of the line.

Consider that Japanese maples with an upright growth habit can grow as wide as they grow tall, evolving into small trees. However, those with a weeping growth habit usually grow wider than they grow tall and make attractive specimens used around a pond or sloped area.

Another important factor to consider when selecting an appropriate location to plant is the amount of sunlight the area receives. A site that receives sunlight throughout the morning hours and some shade during the afternoon is ideal. However, Japanese maple varieties producing red leaves will have the deepest color year-round when receiving sunlight during the day. Check our website under the tree’s description for preferred sun requirements, as some Japanese maples tolerate more than others do.

Preparing the Planting Site

Planting and growing your Japanese maple in soil that is properly prepared is necessary for its success. For the best growth and performance, Japanese maples prefer a rich soil high in organic materials but drains well. Although they like moisture, they will not tolerate wet feet, planted in soils that have a tendency to remain soggy. If you soil is sandy and lacks fertility, you can amend the site with organic materials. However, do not amend the site with another type of soil brought in from another location but instead use organic matter.

The first step in preparing the planting site is clearing it of any unwanted growth from weeds and grasses. You can do this by either pulling the vegetation out by hand or using a hard rake. If you decide to kill the weeds and grass by using an herbicide, wait at least two weeks before planting to make sure the vegetation is dead and then remove it from the site. Prepare an area that is around 3 feet in diameter, so there is no chance of the trunk becoming damaged through the use of yard equipment.

Cover the planting site with about 6- to 8-inches of an organic material like well-rotted manure or compost and work it down and into the soil about a foot. This allows the roots an easier time spreading out through the area and increases drainage.

However, if the area has a tendency to retain water or your soil is heavy like clay, you will want to create a mound that lifts the Japanese maple’s roots out of the wet conditions. Amend the soil with the organic materials and then create a mound that is about a foot tall before planting.

Preparing the Tree

For the best success when you plant your Japanese maple, thoroughly saturate the root ball with water the evening before you plan to plant. It is better to have the root ball hydrated with water when you plant it in the ground than having it completely dry.

Digging the Hole

Next, you will want to dig the hole to plant the Japanese maple. Dig a hole that is several times wider than and as deep as the pot. You do not want to plant the Japanese maple any deeper than it was originally growing, as it puts a strain on the tree and can impede proper growth. If the hole is too deep, just backfill with soil until you achieve the proper depth and then plant.

Removing the Pot

Depending on the size of your tree and so you do not damage any branches, you may need someone to hold the Japanese maple while you remove the pot. It should slide off relatively easy from the root ball, but if not, usually tapping the sides of the pot will the release the root ball from the container. If the pot proves stubborn and does not slide off easily, you can carefully cut off the bottom using a knife or box cutter.

For Ball & Burlap trees, allow the cloth covering to remain in place until you do the actual planting.

Planting Your Japanese Maple Tree

Next, you want to place the Japanese maple’s root ball into the hole, making sure you are not planting it any deeper than it was growing in the container. If needed, backfill the hole with additional soil to raise the root ball up to the correct level with the ground. Once you have the root ball in the planting hole, backfill the hole about halfway with soil. Firm the soil up around the root ball by gently pressing down on it using your foot or hands.

If planting a Ball & Burlap tree, position the tree with the cloth covering intact inside the hole. Using a sharp knife, cut through the ropes or strings and remove them. Cut down the sides of the burlap and remove. Do not worry about any left under the tree, if it is the traditional cloth burlap. Just push it down into the soil and it will rot over time and not impeded the tree’s growth. However, if it’s not the traditional cloth burlap you need to remove it, as it will not breakdown in the soil. Have someone help you hold the tree as you slip the product out from under the root ball.

Watering the Tree

Before you finish filling the hole with the remainder of the soil, you need to water the hole to help settle the soil around the roots and give them an additional drink. Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain completely.

Finishing the Planting

Once the water has drained from the hole, backfill with the remainder of the soil. Once the hole is filled, firm the soil up around the base of the Japanese maple using your foot. Make sure the planting site is level and the soil does not slope away from the tree. Water then can saturate the root system and not flow away and into the lawn.

Although not necessary, you can form a soil dam that is several inches high around the outer diameter of the planting site, which helps retain the water directly over the root system.

To help cut down on unwanted growth of vegetation and help the soil retain moisture, apply a 3-inch layer of organic mulch over the planting site, spreading it evenly. Just be sure to keep the mulch pulled several inches away from the Japanese maple’s trunk. Water the planting site again, being sure to thoroughly saturate the root ball.

Staking Japanese Maple Trees

It is not necessary to stake the tree. However, if your Japanese maple has a cascading growth habit, you can stake a few branches and keep it upright, which leads to a taller, multi-tiered tree. When staking your maple you will need two stakes that are around 5 feet tall, a hammer and tree staking straps or another soft material like canvas strapping. Do not use ropes or wire as it can damage the tree by cutting into the trunk.

Place the stakes on opposite sides of the tree and about 1.5 feet from the tree’s root ball. Hammer the stakes into the ground about 18 inches and place the straps around the tree and then around the stake in a figure eight position. This allows the trunk some leeway as it moves with wind. You do not want to tie the rope tightly and directly around the trunk or damage can occur.

Planting in a Container

Most Japanese maples grow quite well planted in containers or planter boxes, as long as the container drains. They dress up a porch or entranceway with their unique forms and brilliant colors. When transplanting from the original container, repot into one that is one to two sizes larger and the maple should grow happily for several years before it will require a bigger pot. Use a fertile potting mix that drains well and be sure not to plant the maple any deeper than it was growing in the original pot.

After planting, water the container’s soil until it runs from the bottom drain holes. Japanese maples grow best in moist soil that drains well, so depending on your local weather conditions you may have to water several times each week. Stick your finger into the soil and if the top inch feels dry, apply water.

You can fertilize your Japanese maple in spring and early summer using a product like fish emulsion, blood or bone meal. Follow package directions on amounts for your particular sized tree and do not use a product high in nitrogen. You can also use an all-purpose, water-soluble liquid fertilizer applied at half-strength. Do not apply too much or the leaves can suffer burns.

If you live in the coldest hardiness zone for your particular Japanese maple, you will need to give it some protection during the coldest months of winter. The biggest goal is to protect the roots. Although you might be tempted to bring your maple indoors, this isn’t the best course of action to take due to the dry, hot air indoors. If you have a protected greenhouse you can place the potted maple in there, otherwise, bury the entire pot in the ground in a location in the garden that is protected from strong winds.

Follow-up Care of Japanese Maples

Although Japanese maples don’t perform well in soils that are constantly soggy, they do like consistent moisture for the best growth. Once planted, it takes around three or four months for the root system to establish itself in its new planting site, so it requires regular water. For the first few months, water twice weekly. Thereafter, and depending on your particular location’s weather, give the maple a deep soaking once to two times weekly, especially if your conditions are hot and dry.

Japanese maples do not require large amounts of fertilizer or frequent feedings, so fertilize in spring using a slow-release blend for trees, applied at the rate suggested on the particular product’s label. You do not want to use a product high in nitrogen.

Each spring replace the mulch with fresh, remembering not to allow it to butt against the trunk to prevent potential disease problems. The only pruning that is needed is to remove any broken or damaged branches, or any that are crossing each other. Always sterilize your pruning tool blades by wiping them off with alcohol before making your cuts so you don’t transfer disease to your Japanese maple.

By giving your Japanese maple the best start possible, it will reward you with years of healthy growth along with its colorful splendor. Its dazzling beauty will make it the true rock star of your garden.

How to Care for Japanese Maple?— We’ve Got Tips (That Work)

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Is your backyard looking a little dull?  Could your front yard use a bit of color?  Why not trying to grow a Japanese maple tree. It is both elegant and stunning with its red and green colors. It comes in all sizes, from bonsai and dwarf sizes to the much bigger Acer palmatum.

This woody plant delights everyone from hobby gardeners to professional landscape designers.

Its finely laced leaves come in various shades of green and turn brilliantly colorful as the seasons progress.  It provides shade when the weather is hot and doesn’t mind the winter frost.

Let’s jump straight into the guide!

You might also want to consider growing a chinese elm tree. Use our chinese elm tree guide to help you get started.

What You’ll Learn

The Japanese maple is a shade tree that features delicate, lacy, red-purple leaves that will turn bright shades of red, orange, or yellow in the fall.  Because of its striking appearance, it can easily become the defining focal point of an entire landscape.

There are two primary varieties: a shrub-like, compact version with branches that grow downward, which gives it an almost weepy appearance, and a tree-like version with branches that grow upwards.

Japanese maples can grow to a height of 15 feet to 25 feet and spreads out to around 20 feet once it has reached maturity.  The dwarf tree variety grows to about 4 to 5 feet tall.

Growth Rate

Unlike many other trees, the Japanese maple is a slow-growing woody plant, with a moderate growth rate of 1 foot to 2 feet per year.  Saplings grow more quickly; once they have reached maturity, the growth rate will decrease.

Because of its slow growth rate, the species has earned a reputation of being a challenge to grow. This is not true, however. Although it has specific needs that need to be met for optimal health and beauty, overall, the Japanese maple is hardy and tough.

Where to Plant

Before purchasing a Japanese maple for your yard, keep in mind that they are cold hardy at temperatures around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they will do well in hardiness zones 5 through 9.

It prefers a location in partial sun rather than full sunlight.  The shrub is tolerant of locations in full shade.

If you like gardening, you may also want to consider growing tomatoes in your garden for a vegetable that you can harvest and eat. Our transplanting tomato guide will teach you how to properly transplant your tomatoes successfully.

How to Plant

Once you have selected a suitable location on your property, get ready to dig. The plant needs to get planted into a hole that is twice the size of the root ball and deep enough so that the root ball is flush with the top of the ground when you set it inside.

Water the tree thoroughly before you fill in the hole. As with any newly planted shrub, it is critical to water it regularly. Adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plant, without getting too close to the trunk, will go a long way in retaining much-needed moisture.



It is essential to prune all dead, diseased, and dying branches as you notice them.  If you are pruning for either structure or shape, this is best done from late fall into mid-winter.


Chances are good that you will never have to fertilize your Japanese maple. Because it grows slowly, it doesn’t require much plant food. In fact, too much nitrogen can do more harm than good.

However, if you notice your tree could use a little boost, it is best to choose a fertilizer that is specifically formulated for this species. Do not fertilize until all danger of frost has passed in your area.


As we have already explained, you must water regularly after planting. The first few years are the most vulnerable for the sapling.  Remain vigilant in not letting the bush dry out at any point during the first two years.

Aside from mulching around the tree base, water once a week from spring to fall. During hot spells, water at least twice a week.

If you live in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, or another desert biome, you may want to consider a different tree. While it is possible to grow Japanese maples in desert conditions, they will need extra care.


As a rule, this species does not need staking.  With that said, if you desire a cascading shape and want a taller tree, you can stake a few of the branches upright.  You will then leave them staked until they have grown firm enough to support themselves.

Different Varieties

You can choose from several varieties that provide both shade and color to your landscape.

Acer Palmatum

Acer Palmatum is the scientific name for the common Japanese maple. It is native to Japan, Korea, China, and southeast Russia. This variety grows to be between 20 and 35 feet tall. At maturity, its width measures between 12 and 15 feet.

Like most Japanese maple varieties, Acer Palmatum prefers a shady location, but can tolerate full sun.  Its flowers are crimson, with purple sepals and five white petals.

Coral Bark Japanese Maple

The Coral Bark Japanese maple, also known as Acer Palmatum sango-kaku, provides year-round color.  In the spring, it sports green leaves that grow darker as the seasons change.  In the fall, the leaves turn yellow and orange.

No matter what color, the leaves will contrast sharply with the red-pink bark this tree is sporting.  The more sun that Acer Palmatum sango-kaku receives, the darker the bark will appear. Gardeners who are looking for a splash of color in their yard usually prefer this variety.

When mature, this variety will be between 20 and 25 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide.

Beni Otake

The Beni Otake variety is known for its upward growth.

Its leaves are red-purple or crimson, with a very long and thin shape.  The leaves look similar to bamboo leaves.  This is where this variety gets its name; Beni Otake means “red bamboo” in Japanese.

The advantage of Beni Otake is that it will maintain its vibrant color no matter where you decide to plant it. However, like other varieties, it prefers shade to full sun.

At maturity, this tree will be up to 15 feet tall and up to 20 feet wide.

It adds an undeniable exotic element to any landscape.

The Takeaway

You will never regret your decision to add a Japanese maple to your yard—as long as you do your research and are aware of the care and maintenance that is required.

With the right amount of sunlight, regular watering, and a few early years of pampering, your Japanese maple will reward you with the full glory of its beauty.

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Maple tree planting and care.

How to grow maple in the country. -Landscape design studio
  1. Which maple to plant on the site
  2. Preparatory work before planting a tree
  3. Maple Planting and Care

Due to its unusual decorative effect and docile nature, maple is often used in the landscape design of the Moscow region. Planting and caring for maple is not difficult, and the return from it is very high. The tree is undemanding to soils and endures frosts. And if in winter the young shoots freeze, in the spring it will grow new ones.

Landscape design studio STROY-GAZON offers you to create a design project for your site, as well as professionally perform planting and landscaping. 8 (916) 999-99-20

Elegant foliage attracts attention throughout the warm season. In spring, against the background of blossoming burgundy leaves, inflorescences of small bright yellow fragrant flowers stand out clearly. The grown leaves turn green and acquire the shape characteristic of each species and variety: five-fingered, carved, pointed. There are variegated forms of maples with variegated foliage. All summer long, against the background of maple greenery, bright red, pinkish, yellowish-green clusters of lionfish fruits stand out. In September, ripened seeds lose their brightness, but it is then that the leaves begin to change their color. In different species, they are scarlet, yellow, orange, pink, burgundy.

And even the trunks of these trees can be decorative. The bark of the Tatar maple is black, while the bark of the fan maple is greenish, light brown, beige. There are several varieties of serpentine maples. Their trunks are covered with an unusual "serpentine" pattern: alternating white and green or brown vertical stripes.

Maple tree planting and maintenance does not include cutting. This is one of the few trees that independently form a beautiful, dense, symmetrical crown. If the plant is not used in a green hedge, it does not need to be trimmed annually. The trunk grows even and slender, and the fertile shadow of the dense crown saves the surrounding area from the heat.

Ginnala Maple
Maple Globoza on a low trunk
Maple Royal Red

Which maple tree to plant on the site

Several dozen species and varieties of maple are used in the landscaping of sites. To make a spectacular hedge, you can plant a bush maple undersized on the site. In small areas, in rockeries, mini-gardens, trees about 3 m high are planted. If the area is large enough, the owner chooses large trees with a height of 10 m or more.

Most popular maple species:

Sugar maple

Large size:
  • Far Eastern
  • Manchu
  • Small-leaved
  • Holly or Sycamore
  • Silver
  • Sugar

Ginnala Maple

Shrubs or small trees:
  • Bearded - up to 5 m
  • Ginnala or Prirechny - up to 5 m
  • Tatar - up to 7 m
  • Ash-leaved - up to 7 m
  • False siboldov - up to 8 m

Tri-flowered maple

Japanese garden maples - low growing, tiered, with asymmetrical crown and horizontal branching:
  • Fan-shaped or Palmate
  • Triflora

Snake-bark species:
  • Green-bark

    Serpentine Maple

  • Pennsylvania
  • David
  • Reddish Veined
  • Serpentskin

Breeders divided almost every species into several varieties that differ in the color of foliage, shoots and bark, crown shape, and trunk height. After consulting with a specialist in a landscape studio, you can pick up and plant a maple tree in the country, which is optimal for it in size and shape.

Preparatory work before planting a tree

Before planting a maple tree on the site, you need to make sure that the grown tree will not become a problem in the future.

An open sunny area should be chosen for the tree in order to get a beautiful lush crown and be able to admire it. Spreading maple growing close to the house can greatly obscure the premises. Its shadow will be detrimental to sun-loving flowering perennials and shrubs.

The second possible inconvenience from maple is the numerous shoots of its seeds. They are carried by the wind and thrive in cultivated soil. If there are flowerbeds or beds in the immediate vicinity, you need to be prepared to deal with additional weeds.

It is possible to plant a maple on a permanent site at the age of 2-3 years, when the tree will show its varietal qualities and become an independent viable organism.

Maple loves fertile soil. If a sufficient amount of humus or compost is prepared for planting, the question of how to grow a maple tree strong and healthy will be resolved.

It is not difficult when and how to plant a maple so that it quickly takes root and gives growth. Maple with an open root system is planted in spring or autumn. A seedling grown in a container culture can be placed in a permanent place at any time of the year. It is better to plant a large-sized plant in winter, when the earth ball is guaranteed not to crumble from the roots.

Maple Flamingo
Maple Fassen Black

Planting and caring for maple

Planting and caring for maple starts at least 2-3 weeks before the purchase of the tree. Under the seedling, they dig a landing hole 70 cm deep in advance. The excavated earth is mixed with humus. If the soil is dense clayey, sand and peat are added to the planting soil. In areas flooded with groundwater, drainage from crushed stone and sand is arranged in a pit with a layer of at least 20 cm.

A stake is driven into the bottom of the pit, 100-150 g of mineral fertilizer is poured and partially filled with enriched earth mixture. The root system is freed from the strapping or container, placed on the poured soil so that its root collar rises 5 cm above the site. The roots are straightened and covered with the remnants of the earth, compacting with the foot. After watering the seedling with 10-20 liters of water, the soil will settle, the neck will drop to the edge of the pit. The tree is tied to a stake.

Maple planting and care of the seedling on the first day are completed, if necessary, with partial pruning of the branches. In spring and summer, during the period of solar activity, a freshly planted tree should be shaded so that it does not expend energy on evaporation, but on the development of roots and shoots. You need to water the seedling monthly with 10 liters of water, and in hot summer - weekly.

In the next few years, the young maple will need regular top dressing with mineral fertilizers for active growth. An adult plant tolerates drought well, but if it is periodically watered during the dry season, the crown will be more lush and fresh.

The tree should be inspected regularly for pests and diseases. If infection is detected, remove damaged leaves and shoots, treat with insecticides or fungicides. The trunk circle should be regularly weeded and loosened in order to destroy possible pests and improve air access to the roots.

As you can see, planting maple in the country and learning how to properly care for it is not an easy task. But don't despair! If this is difficult for you, then I, Alisa Samoilova, will be happy to help you! Call me at: 8-916-999-99-20, and I will provide you with any assistance in landscaping the site, planting trees and plants, as well as any other issues related to landscape design.

Japanese maple - planting and care, varieties, photo

The Japanese maple has a beautiful crown and heavily carved leaves that turn red, yellow and orange in autumn. The homeland of the tree is Japan, where a closely related species, the palm maple Acer palmatum, also comes from. In the garden, plants are planted singly, in the center of the composition, in rocky gardens, and above ponds. They are suitable for creating a bonsai tree.


  1. Cultivation and requirements
  2. Planting site
  3. When to plant?
  4. Wintering
  5. Watering, fertilizing, pruning
  6. Diseases
  7. The most beautiful varieties

Growing and requirements

Japanese maples (Acer japonicum) are original multi-stemmed shrubs or up to 10.6 m high Red and tender shoots are decorated with fancy carved fan-shaped leaves, about 14 cm in diameter, falling in winter. In autumn, the foliage takes on a fiery color. The beauty of the crown is emphasized by purple inflorescences and red shiny fruits.

Planting site

When deciding to grow these capricious and delicate perennials, their considerable requirements must be met.

Japanese maple grows best on soils:

  • fertile,
  • moderately moist,
  • well-drained,
  • slightly acidic.

The plant does not tolerate limestone soil!

When to plant?

Acer japonicum seedlings can be planted in the garden in spring or autumn, in sunny places protected from the wind. Plants grow well near water bodies. Due to the fragile roots located close to the surface of the earth, the trees cannot be transplanted.


Covering young plants for the winter will prevent them from freezing. The roots must be protected from frost by mulching, for example, with pine bark. It is necessary to remove the protection in the spring, preventing the appearance of the disease - rotting of the base of the shoot.

Watering, top dressing, pruning

The care of a young tree in the first years of growth consists in watering them during the summer heat and top dressing with organic fertilizers with a slow action.

Maple does not need pruning. If the plant grows too much, you can cut it in the fall, removing damaged shoots that thicken the crown. In winter, you can cut off the old middle growths. Regular pruning is only needed to form bonsai.


Japanese maple can be attacked by fungal diseases.