Maple trees are often associated with fall, as their large leaves turn brilliant colors in the cooler weather. Red maple trees, also known as Acer Rubrum, are a good choice if you are looking for a fast growing, hardy maple. The red maple can grow from 40 to 60 feet tall and produce a more oval-shaped canopy with leaves that turn a fiery red in the fall. All maples are deciduous, meaning that their leaves will drop off in late fall and have bare branches until spring when new foliage appears.
Select a planting site for your red maple tree that will receive full sun to partial shade. Prepare the soil in early to mid-spring after the last frost and when the ground is workable. Although red maple trees grow in various types of soil, they thrive in well-draining soil with neutral to acidic pH levels. Working in organic compost or peat moss to the soil will help enrich it if necessary.
Dig a hole that is about four times wider than the root ball and as deep. Remove the tree from the container it was grown in and gently loosen the roots. Place the tree in the hole, spreading out the roots. Fill in halfway with the soil just to hold the tree upright, water thoroughly and once all the water has drained out of the hole, fill the rest of the hole with soil tamping down the top firmly with your shovel.
Water your newly planted consistently and deeply being sure it gets about 1 1/2 inches of water a week. Use a drip system or soaker hose to ensure that the roots receive adequate water. Signs of over-watering are light green leaves, while drooping leaves signal under-watering.
Feed your red maple with a balanced slow release fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10. Apply once a month in the spring and one time monthly through the summer, stopping use in the fall through winter months. Begin feeding your tree again after the last frost in the spring.
Clear all weeds and grass out from under your tree, about 2 to 3 feet out from the tree trunk. Add a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch under the tree to keep the weeds and grass under control and to help the soil retain moisture. Red maples are quite prolific and will send up seedlings, and it is important to pull these up immediately to keep additional growth under control.