The price of a Japanese maple can fluctuate based on the availability and popularity of a particular species, the labor that the grower puts into raising the tree and bringing it to market and the number of trees a grower has to sell. Large chain stores or nurseries may charge the lowest price for a tree due to low overhead. By contrast, Japanese maples in smaller nurseries may cost more because it takes more of a smaller nursery's resources to bring it to market.
Make a list of the Japanese maple varieties that you would like to purchase. The type of tree that you want will greatly affect the cost. There are several hundred varieties of Japanese maple on the market, according to Washington State University. These varieties may range in price from as little as a few dollars to as much as thousands of dollars depending on the species.
Call local nurseries, garden centers and plant centers that specialize in Japanese maples to determine availability and price range for Japanese maple varieties that you want to purchase. This information is subject to change seasonally, so you should check the value of a tree just before you consider purchasing it.
Visit garden centers and inspect the Japanese maples that you plan to purchase. A tree's value may be affected by the size of the tree and the shape that it is in. A tree that is in poor shape with broken limbs and signs of defoliation will be worth much less than a quality Japanese maple that is in good shape.
Determine if the tree is a good value by calculating the tree's worth vs. the condition of the tree and the location where you will plant it. A common Japanese maple such as Acer Palmatum that has no broken limbs or scarred bark and is planted in light shade and well-drained soil is a good value. A quality Japanese maple that you plan to plant in full sun and poorly drained soil is a very poor value because the tree is very expensive and it will not thrive and may die in those conditions.