How to Grow Japanese Red Maple Trees


The Japanese red maple tree, or Acer palmatum, is a slow to moderately growing tree native to Asia. This deciduous tree develops a round crown with simple, star-shaped foliage. During the fall months, the rich green foliage changes to hues of red and orange. This small but showy tree reaches heights up to 25 feet and can be grown as a tree or small shrub.

Step 1

Plant the Japanese red maple tree in a well-drained, acidic location that receives at least eight hours of full to partially shaded sunlight each day.

Step 2

Irrigate the maple tree regularly, providing about 1.0 to 1.5 inches of water each week. Use a slow irrigation process for the best effect. Avoid overwatering which will cause pale colored foliage and crown drooping.

Step 3

Feed the Japanese maple tree monthly during the growing season from March through September. Use a well-balanced, slow release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 combination. Distribute the feed evenly around the diameter of the tree. Keep the fertilizer at least one foot from the base of the tree to prevent root burn.

Step 4

Keep the Japanese maple tree's area free of clutter and weeds. Remove the weeds by hand as they appear. Ensure that the entire root system of the weed is removed to prevent re-growth.

Step 5

Protect the area of the Japanese maple by adding a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree. Replenish the mulch throughout the season to maintain constant protection.

Step 6

Prune the Japanese maple tree to remove any dead, dying or wilting areas from the tree. Use sharp, sterile shears to complete the cut. Complete the cut in an angular motion to promote rapid healing.

Step 7

Inspect the maple tree regularly for signs of infection or disease. Look for leaf spotting, wilting, dieback, growth stunting or lesions. Treat an infected tree immediately to avoid permanent injury to the tree. Reduce the potential of disease by treating the Japanese red maple with an annual fungicidal treatment.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning Shears
  • Water


  • Ohio State University Extension: Acer Palmatum
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: Acer palmatum Figure 1. Middle-aged Japanese Maple. Japanese Maple
  • Floridata: Acer palmatum
  • Fast Growing Trees: Red Maple Planting Instructions
Keywords: Japanese red maple, red maple tree, fertilizing Japanese maple

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.