Japanese maple trees (Acer palmatum) are one of the most attractive of all the maples. They grow to form a delicate 5- to 20-foot high canopy that often droops or forms a weeping-type growth. Japanese maple trees are often revered for their brilliant fall foliage when the leaves turn bright red, yellow or orange. Grown throughout the temperate regions of the world, Japanese maples need fertile, well-draining soil and partial to full shade.
Planting a Japanese Maple in a Tub
Place a large planting tub in a location in your garden that is suitable for growing a Japanese maple. In hotter growing regions, such as Florida, provide full shade. In more temperate regions, partial to filtered shade is ideal.
Fill the large planting tub with a sphagnum peat moss planting mix. Japanese maples need acidic soil, and sphagnum peat moss helps to acidify the soil.
Remove the Japanese maple from its growing container. Use a small hammer, or a trowel, and strike along the base of the container, near the drain holes. Once the container starts to loosen, slide the container off the root system.
Dig a hole in the center of the tub that is about 1 1/2 times the width of the root ball and approximately the same depth.
Place the Japanese maple into its new growing container. Make sure the top of the root ball is sitting level to the top of the soil in the tub.
Scoop in potting mix in and around the root ball of the Japanese maple to fill the tub with soil. Water the Japanese maple thoroughly.
Water the container-grown Japanese maple regularly during its summer growing season. A good weekly soaking is ideal.
Planting a Japanese Maple in the Ground
Remove the Japanese maple from its growing container as directed in step 3 above.
Dig a hole for the Japanese maple that is twice the width and depth of its root ball.
Mix into the soil you extracted from the planting hole about 1/2 to 1 cubic feet of sphagnum peat moss. Scoop in the sphagnum peat moss and soil mixture back into the planting hole until the hole is about the same depth of the root ball.
Set the Japanese maple into the planting hole. Ensure the Japanese maple is sitting with the top of its root ball level to the adjacent garden soil. Scoop in soil in and around the root ball to fill the planting with soil.
Create a 3- to 4-inch high dam of dirt that is about 20 to 24 inches in diameter around the Japanese maple. This helps to facilitate watering. Fill the circular enclosure using a slow, steady stream of water, allowing the water to soak down to the roots.
Water the Japanese maple twice weekly during its growing season. Provide the equivalent of 1 inch of water weekly if there is no rainfall.