Native to Asia, Japanese maple trees' shiny bark and lacy leaves provide year-round interest, but their bright red, yellow and purple leaves make a showy statement in fall. The trees work well as specimens or accent plants in yards, rock gardens and patio pots. They achieve 25-foot heights and develop round or irregular habits, depending on the cultivar, according to the UConn Plant Database. The Crimson Queen produces a weeping form, while Versicolor appears upright. Japanese maple trees are relatively disease and pest-free but remain susceptible to leaf scorch in high temperatures and high winds.
Prepare a planting site that has well-drained, acidic soil. Japanese maple trees prefer sun, but will grow in partial shade.
Remove the Japanese maple tree from its container. Use a shovel to dig a planting hole that is one-and-a-half times wider and deeper than the rootball. Place the rootball in the hole, then replace the soil. Build up the soil 3 to 6 inches above the grade to ensure the crown is not in wet soil.
Spread a 3-inch layer of coarse, bark mulch around the tree's base, and keep it 4 inches from the trunk to prevent crown rot and insect damage. The mulch stabilizes the soil, regulates soil temperature and retains moisture.
Water newly planted trees frequently and deeply with a soaker hose. Provide established trees with 1 to 3 inches of water each week during the growing season.
Prune branches in late summer to maintain shape and health. Use shears to cut branches less than 1/2 inch in diameter with pruning shears and branches larger than 1/2 inch with loppers or a pruning saw.
Remove and destroy twigs infested with leaf spot and tar spot. Trees infected with the bacterial disease leaf spot prevent spots, black veins and leaf-tip dieback. Trees infected with tar spots develop yellow spots that turn black.