Japanese Maple, Red and Japanese Maple - Nursing Guide

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Japanese fan maple - Acer palmatum

No tree genus demonstrates the change between becoming and passing spectacular, as a summer green maple with brilliant autumn color. The high-carats among the many species are Japanese maple and red and fan maple with magnificent varieties. From the dwarfish 'Shaina' for the bucket culture to the majestic 'Ornatum' as a solitaire, the perfect Acer is ready for every design request. Home gardeners appreciate that the variety of varieties in terms of care pull together. The following care instructions are therefore applicable to all Asian maple trees, which stand out with slotted ornamental leaves.


The choice of a conducive location plays a key role in successful cultivation. Since Japanese Maple and its fellows are characterized by a high degree of flexibility, a wide range of location options is available to you.
This is how the ideal location should be:
  • Sunny to partially shaded location
  • Beyond shadowing large trees or walls
  • Gladly warm and protected from the wind
Although the genus of maples is not part of the natural inventory of our region, the trees are so robust that they can easily adapt to the Central European climate. A sunny day north exposure is therefore accepted as well as a sun-exposed southern exposure. In order for the foliage to undergo the spectacular transformation in the fall in the hoped-for intensity, the location should be fully sunny at this time of the year.

Soil quality and substrate

In their Asian habitats, maple trees primarily choose a location with loose, well drained forest soil up to 800 meters altitude. A garden soil with the following characteristics meets the requirements for a vital and healthy growth:
  • Deep, nutrient-rich soil
  • Fresh and moist, well drained, without waterlogging
  • Ideally slightly sour, neutral to slightly calcareous
For the cultivation of dwarf varieties in the tub, we recommend a structurally stable pot plant soil, which gets more permeability with fine grit or quartz sand. The addition of foliage compost optimizes the nutrient content, since small remaining maple varieties only grow very slowly and stay in the substrate for a correspondingly long time. To improve the stability, add a few handfuls of loamy garden soil, which makes sense especially in wind-exposed locations.
Tip: In garden soil with an alkaline pH greater than 8, problems in cultivating Japanese Maple are inevitable. By incorporating moorland or rhododendron soil in the soil, reduce the pH to a level suitable for maple trees.

planting time

Japanese fan maple - Acer palmatum

As immigrated trees young maple trees are not completely hardy immediately after planting. Therefore, the spring has emerged as the best planting time. Until the first frost, the young trees have a months-long acclimatization period, so they are well prepared for the winter. Only in wintry grape growing regions can autumn be considered as a planting season.


At the chosen date for planting Japanese Maple, Red or Japanese Maple, the soil should be completely thawed. Delayed ground frosts must not be announced, as the flat root system of young trees could otherwise sustain frost damage.
How to plant a self-picked or ready-bought maple correctly:
  • Put the potted root ball in water until no more air bubbles rise
  • Meanwhile dig a plant pit with twice the circumference of the root ball
  • On the sole pebbles or chippings fill as drainage against waterlogging
  • Enrich the excavation with foliage compost, fine chippings and horn shavings
Place the now patched maple in the middle of the pit. In addition to the root ball, you hit a wooden post into the ground to later tie the trunk to it and protect it from wind thunderstorms. While a helping hand fixes the tree, fill in the enriched soil. The surface of the root disk should end up just below the ground level. Cling to the earth and pour in penetratingly.
The planting in the bucket is similar, with an air and water permeable fleece being laid between the drainage and the substrate. You can do without a support rod in this case. It is important to note that you end up watering the root ball until the water runs down the bottom.
Tip: Freshly planted maple trees are sensitive to dog urine. To protect the young trunks from damage, plant the harp shrub Plectranthus caninus in the immediate vicinity. This plant is also known under the name of 'verpiss-you-plant' or 'dog-fright' and keeps the four-legged friends away by their smell.

to water

As you grow older, the need for molding your Japanese maple and its numerous peers decreases. Immediately after planting, as well as during the first three to four years, rooting has not progressed so far that a young maple can do without supplemental watering. This is especially true during dry summer periods as well as frost freezing in winter.
How to pour properly:
  • Water abundantly during the first 6 weeks after planting without waterlogging
  • Water for the first 4 years when the soil is 2 cm deep
  • In summer drought, run the water hose twice a week for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Always pour water directly onto the root disk

Japanese fan maple - Acer palmatum

While with well-rooted, adult maple trees the normal rainfall covers the water requirement, dwarf maples in the bucket can at any time do without regular casting. Due to the exposed root ball position and the low substrate volume, the soil dries quickly. Therefore, at least once a week, use a thumb sample to check whether the potting soil has dried. Allow the water from the can spout to flow until the coaster fills. After 10 minutes, please pour out the coaster to prevent waterlogging.


The nutrient supply only needs your attention at the beginning of the gardening season. In May or June, you can use a slow-release fertilizer to boost the growth of your maple. Well suited is a long-term fertilizer with depot effect. Sprinkle the granules on the root disk and pour. Please avoid incorporating the fertilizer with the rake. All maple species thrive as a shallow root, with the vital fine root system located just below the earth's surface. By inhaling the fertilizer, the nutrients get to the roots without damaging the roots with a rake.

To cut

Japanese maple and red and fan maple are inherently blessed with a perfectly shaped growth habit, which is unlikely to be improved in the context of a pruning. Since this tree genus is not well cut tolerant anyway, the topic of cutting is rarely on the care program. To regulate the growth in the bed and bucket or to free the crown of ballast, but the use of scissors may be useful.
How to proceed professionally:
  • Shorten long shoots in summer
  • Attach the scissors at a short distance to a sleeping eye
  • Cut off dead branches on Astring
Please do not cut into old wood. As a rule, a maple does not drive at this point again. As the garden practice has shown, for a maple is a cut-appointment in the fall and winter of disadvantage. In the midst of the summery vegetation period, the cuts close more quickly, so that diseases and pests find less attack surface.
Tip: From Springtime to Autumn, wild shoots drift out of the base on refined maple varieties. These water squirts grow much faster than the twigs in the finished crown. Therefore, cut off any wild shoot that falls in your eye in a timely manner.

Hibernate in the bed

Thanks to their adaptability, adult maple trees are completely hardy. This frost tolerance builds up gradually over the first 4 to 5 years. In this way, the following protections ensure that a young Japanese maple, red or Japanese maple can survive the rigors of the cold season:
  • Spread a thick layer of leaves on the root disc before the onset of winter
  • Around the young tree sticking as windbreak
  • Alternatively, protect the young tree with a reed mat
If the winter weather is determined by frost, where the snow is missing and the sun is shining, maple trees are threatened by drought stress. Therefore, on mild days pour young and adult specimens alike.

Hibernate in the bucket

Japanese fan maple - Acer palmatum

In the bucket, the root ball of your maple is in an attackable position for frost and cold wind. Here a more comprehensive strategy is required, so that the Asian wood does not suffer damage.
How to do it right:
  • Maple in bucket in front of a protective house wall
  • Put the pot on a wooden or styrofoam base
  • Wrap with bubble wrap
  • Pull a coconut mat over the foil, which projects beyond the pot edge by a few centimeters
Buckets with a diameter of less than 30 cm please clear into the bright winter quarters. At 2 to 5 degrees Celsius, you only water so much that the earth does not dry out. As soon as no frosty nights are more to be feared, the maple relocates to its ancestral location under the open sky.

Diseases and pests

Planting and maintaining your Japanese maple, red and fan maple according to this guide will not bother you with diseases and pests. In too dry, wet or lean soil, the defenses of the tree, so that pathogenic pathogens have easy play. The most common issues with non-toxic control tips are summarized below:


Too dry soil and summer drought call the mildew fungus infection powdery mildew on the plan. Visible is the infestation of floury-gray to floury-white spots on the leaves. Cut off all affected leaves. In the early stage, the handle to the chemical fungicide is not required. An effective remedy has proven to be a mix of one-eighth liter of fresh milk and one liter of water. Spray the sick maple once a week until no white plaque appears.

Verticillium wilt

Wet soil and waterlogging cause another fungal disease. Maple is one of the most important host plants for the dreaded Verticillium wilt. First symptoms of infection are pale green leaves that wither, although you regularly water. Effective fungicides are not yet available. Cut out sick branches and optimize the site conditions to strengthen the tree's defenses. If the pathogens have not yet completely colonized the pathways, the tree's self-healing powers can be activated and the disease can be healed from within.


Japanese fan maple - Acer palmatum

A weakened by nutrient deficiency Japanese Maple can not resist the attack by aphids. The same applies to red and fan maples. Especially in July and August, the sucking pests are booming. Examine the tops and bottoms of the leaves regularly to spot the green, brown, white or reddish lice in good time. It has been proven that the classic soap solution is as effective in controlling as chemical insecticides.
This is how it works:
  • Bring one liter of water to a boil
  • Dissolve 50 grams of pure curd soap in it
  • Put the cooled solution in a hand or pressure sprayer
Treat the entire foliage of the affected maple on the top and bottom. Because home remedies rarely succeed after a single use, repeat the soapy water regimen every two to three days. Please note that commercial soap products are not suitable for this purpose. Only if you do not discover aphids with the magnifying glass, your Japanese maple is aphid-free.
With their multi-faceted and shapely varieties Japanese maple and red and fan maple are predestined to the house tree for the small and large garden. In order to enjoy the decorative foliage structures and a furious autumn coloring, the Asian ornamental trees require their gardener only a little effort for the care. Planted in a sunny to partially shaded spot in spring in a humus rich, nutrient-rich soil, the young trees in the garden feel welcome. In the first years of summer time, plenty of water is poured, whereas adult maple trees are content with the rainfall. The nutrient requirement is covered with a fertilizer in the spring. Their naturally beautiful habit requires no annual form and maintenance cut. With an increased workload, maple trees only make themselves felt if their magnificent foliage falls to the ground before winter and needs to be disposed of.

Video Board: What's wrong with my Japanese Maple?.

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