How to Care for a Baby Maple Tree
Baby maple trees -- also called seedlings or saplings -- often don’t grow or thrive to their fullest potential if left on their own in your landscape. They can be shaded out, crowded out, chewed up and left dry and wilted. With a few simple measures, you can care for your baby maple tree and encourage it to grow into a healthy, beautiful maple tree to live for generations.
Water your baby maple tree as much as 3 gallons of water every four days during extremely hot weather. The water must reach the roots. To do this, set a hose near the base of your tree and slowly let it drip for several hours. Another trick is to drill a couple small holes in a 5-gallon plastic bucket and set it next your tree. Fill the bucket about 2 or 3 gallons full every four to five days, depending on the weather, size of your tree and weekly rainfall amounts.
Protect it from animals such as mice and voles that strip the bark off the tree. Wrap a metal sheeting or piece of plastic around the trunk if you notice problems with pests. You can also purchase a tree wrap available at garden supply stores. Also, don’t let animals graze near your tree or they may eat it; keep an eye out for insect damage, too, and treat with an insecticide if necessary.
Thin out trees or shrubs that may be shading out your baby maple. While maples can grow in shade, they are more likely to survive and then grow into healthy mature trees if provided with sunlight.
Protect the baby maple from high winds. Install a fence or trellis, for example, to block damaging winds.
Provide the small tree with adequate space to grow. Remove weeds and other growth within a 3-feet area around your tree, as they are likely to compete for the same water and nutrients as your maple tree seedling.
- Plastic bucket, 5-gallon
- Metal sheeting, plastic or tree wrap
- Pruning or lopping shears