There are several cultivars of the Japanese red maple tree, though for the most part, the care is the same for each. Some of the cultivars might do better in certain climates where others might not thrive as easily. Depending on the location, watering might be a bit different, but the type of weather in your location determines that. Japanese maples are treasured for landscaping because of their shade qualities and color.
Water the Japanese red maple with at least 1 inch of water per week. If you live in a dry area, you might need to water more often. Always water deeply, to encourage deep and healthy root growth. Watering shallowly encourages root growth near the top of the soil bed, which encourages an unhealthy tree susceptible to disease and pests.
Fertilize the Japanese red maple once every three years with flowering shrub and tree fertilizer. If the soil is healthy, there is no need to test --- just use a general, all-purpose flowering shrub and tree fertilizer. If you have problems with the soil, do a soil test (test kits are available at your local big-box gardening store). Use a flowering shrub and tree fertilizer with a higher concentration of the missing nutrient.
Mulch the Japanese red maple. Mulching with at least 3 inches of compost or pulverized bark keeps the soil cool in hot summer, warm in cool winters, and keeps the soil moist, especially in drier areas. Mulch should be removed and replaced yearly or as needed a few times during the year (if you see mold growing on the underside of the mulch, remove and replace it).
Prune the Japanese red maple as needed during the spring. Remove all dead or decaying plant matter. Prune branches that are too close together to allow the sun to reach all branches. Japanese red maples may or may not need pruning every year.