How to Plant Red Maples


Red maple trees reach 80 feet tall, provide ample shade in the summer and feature bright crimson leaves in the fall. Red maples grow wild in the eastern United States, but you can obtain one from your local nursery as well. They are easy to plant and maintain.

Step 1

Plant your red maple in the spring to give it the rest of the growing season to establish its root system. If you can't plant it in spring, plant in the late summer or fall at least six weeks before the first frost.

Step 2

Plant your red maple where it will receive some shade during the day. Avoid planting where the soil is alkaline. Red maples will experience stress in such soil conditions, leading to stunted growth.

Step 3

Dig a hole four times as wide and slightly deeper than the root ball.

Step 4

Place the sapling in the hole, then water the roots thoroughly before filling in the hole with soil.

Step 5

Maintain a schedule for watering your red maple--try to give it about 1 1/2 inches each week.

Step 6

Fertilize your tree twice monthly in the spring, then once a month in the summer. As winter approaches, stop fertilizing.

Step 7

Pull weeds by hand within a 2-foot diameter of the trunk until you see the tree making progress; then you can protect it with a 4-inch-deep layer of mulch. Do not place the mulch against the tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • Stay alert for signs that you might not be giving your tree enough water, or perhaps too much. These include drooping leaves, which indicate both extremes. Light-green leaves are a sign that the tree has gotten too much moisture.

Things You'll Need

  • Red maple sapling
  • Shovel or spade
  • Watering can or hose
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • Red Maple Planting Instructions
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Keywords: planting red maples, red maple trees, ornamental red maples

About this Author

John has written thousands of articles for Demand Studios, Associated Content and The Greyhound Review. A Connecticut native, John has written extensively about sports, fishing, and nature.