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How Should I Plant My Red Sunset Maple Tree?

red maple image by Stanislav Komogorov from

Red Sunset maples (Acer rubrum 'Red Sunset’) are deciduous trees that grow 2 feet per year until they reach a height of 40 to 60 feet. They grow best in full sun, aren’t particular about the type of soil in which they are placed and are hardy to USDA Zones 3 to 8. The Red Sunset maple tree grows exceptionally well in the southern United States.

Choose a location in which to plant the Red Sunset maple tree. When it matures the surface roots can lift sidewalks, according to the experts at the University of Florida, so site your tree well away from the foundation of your house, driveways and walkways. Consider as well that the tree may eventually reach a height of 60 feet with an equal spread.

Fill a bucket 3/4 full with room temperature water and set the root ball of the Red Sunset maple tree into the water. The root ball should be completely submerged in the water. Allow the roots to soak overnight.

Remove all weeds and turfgrass from within a 3-foot diameter area of where you will be planting the tree.

Dig a hole that is three times the diameter of the Red Sunset’s root ball and the same depth at which the tree was growing. You can determine this depth on a bare-root tree by looking for the soil ring toward the lower end of the tree.

Build a mound of soil at the bottom of the hole that is high enough so that when the Red Sunset maple tree's root ball is set on top of it, the roots can dangle over the sides and barely touch the soil in the bottom of the hole.

Set the Red Sunset maple tree on the hill and backfill the hole halfway with soil. Fill the hole with water. When it drains, finish filling the hole with soil.

Build a ring of mounded soil completely around the tree. It should be 5 to 6 inches in height and 8 inches thick and placed 3 feet away from the tree. Fill the ring with water.

Add a 3 inch layer of mulch to the watering ring. Don’t allow the mulch to touch the trunk of the Red Sunset maple tree and spread it over the entire surface of the soil within the ring.


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