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How to Fertilize Maple Trees

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017
The fall foliage of a maple tree.

Maple trees, known botanically as the species Acer, are deciduous hardwood and softwood trees known for their timber, sap production, distinctive foliage shape and coloration. The leaves have three to nine pointed lobes and the trees produce slightly flat and winged-shaped fruit or seed pods in the fall called samaras. Depending on the cultivar, maples can have green, purple black, red or other colored foliage in the spring with the foliage aging to a completely different hue by fall.

Determine the need for fertilizer by evaluating the new green growth of your maple tree. If there has been 6 inches or more of growth in one year fertilizer is not needed. If there is less than 2 inches of growth in a year fertilizer is definitely needed. If you cannot determine the growth rate of the tree, buy a soil test kit to see what nutrients may be lacking and fashion a fertilizing regimen in keeping with the test results.

Feed your maple tree once a year in the early spring to support the vigorous growth during the late spring. Apply the fertilizer after the soil is no longer frozen and the top few inches of soil can be worked easily.

Sprinkle a complete, granular fertilizer product with a guaranteed analysis of either 30-0-10, 32-3-10 or 16-4-8, unless a different specialized formulation is indicated by the results of the soil test. Refrain from feeding your maple tree with a feed and weed combination fertilizer and herbicide as this can be deadly for the tree.

Apply the fertilizer in the dose recommended on the product label in keeping with the size and age of your maple tree. Rake or trowel the fertilizer into the soil around the tree staring a foot out from the trunk and extending at least a foot past the drip line.

Water the fertilizer into the soil deeply until the soil is drenched at least 8 to 10 inches down but not so much that there is standing or pooling water around the tree.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Soil test kit
  • Complete granular fertilizer
  • Rake or cultivating fork
  • Water