Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

When to Plant Red Maple Trees?

A red maple tree can make a stunning addition to almost any venue. With their shiny leaves and compact crowns, red maples offer visual appeal to passersby and welcome shade to those who plant them. Provided that your geography permits the growing of deciduous trees, the time of year when you plant your red maple tree might dictate its chances of survival.

The Letter "R"

In the Northeast there's an adage that says you can plant a tree in any month with an "r" in its name. Depending on where you live, and how early or late the last frost takes place, planting a red maple in the spring should take place sometime between January and April. Because young red maples have tender root systems, they lack the hardiness to survive a late frost. So wait until the soil has thawed.

Fall Planting

If you purchase a red maple in the late summer or early fall, there's still ample time to plant it. Fall planting takes advantage of naturally cooler temperatures and the pending dormancy of a red maple. Maples enter a period of rest during colder months, so don't be surprised or overly concerned if your young tree loses its remaining leaves. It's merely preparing to sleep through the colder months of winter.

Avoid Summer Planting

Any newly planted tree requires adequate time for its root system to develop. Planting a red maple during the blazing hot days of summer is a risky undertaking. The extreme heat may shock or kill the tree. Even if it manages to survive the summer, it may not have had time to acclimate itself to new surroundings. Come the following spring, you may find that the tree has died, the victim of a short growing season and a harsh winter.

Plant Maple Trees 20 Feet Apart

Select a site where your young maple trees will not be eaten by livestock or wildlife. Verify that the location does not have gas or other utility lines beneath its soil. Remove excess soil with your hands from the bottom of the tree's root ball until you find the main root. Doing this task allows the tree to be planted so its roots are just below the soil surface. Place the tree in the hole. Fill the remainder of the hole with nutrient-rich topsoil. Mulch helps to lock in moisture. A newly planted tree requires regular watering. Keep the soil damp at all times, but do not water so much that water begins to pool around the tree's base. Unwind remaining measuring tape to a find the spot 25 feet away in the direction where you want to plant a second maple tree. Use the same procedures you used to plant, water and mulch the first maple tree.

Garden Guides