How to Fertilize Japanese Red Maples


The Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is a stunning tree with bright red foliage and a height of 15 to 25 feet. Red Japanese maple exhibits its best color when grown in light shade or given lots of water if grown in the sun. Young Japanese red maples need to be fertilized once a year, in the spring, but not until they are over one year old. The amount of fertilizer you will use depends upon the age of the tree.

Step 1

Clear away any mulch from the base of the Japanese red maple. Use the rake to loosen the top 1 inch of soil from the base of the tree to 1 foot further than the tree's drip line (the tips of the widest branches of the tree).

Step 2

Don your gloves and mask. Fertilizer particles are tiny and easily ingested.

Step 3

Sprinkle the fertilizer over the raked area, according to the rate suggested on the package for the age and size of your Japanese red maple tree, and use the gardening fork to lightly mix it in with the top 1 inch of soil.

Step 4

Water the fertilized area until the soil is moist.

Step 5

Spread fresh mulch over the fertilized area, keeping it 2 inches away from the Japanese red maple's trunk.

Tips and Warnings

  • Fertilizers can contain harmful chemicals. Always wear protective clothing when working with fertilizers and read and follow all warning labels.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Gardening fork
  • Gardening gloves
  • Mask
  • Japanese maple fertilizer, 4-8-5 formula, granular
  • Mulch


  • University of Florida: Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum'
  • Yardener: Caring For Japanese Maple
  • ‭"‬The Gardener's Guide to Planting and Growing Trees‭;" ‬Michael Buffin‭; ‬2007
Keywords: fertilize Japanese maple, Japanese red maple, feed red maple

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.