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How to Plant a Crimson King Red Leaf Maple Tree

The Crimson King red leaf maple is an adaptable, low-maintenance tree that can grow in nearly any type of soil. This moderately drought-tolerant maple produces a beautiful rich crimson leaf color in cooler climates. Reaching a mature height of 50 feet and width of 35 feet, the Crimson King maple can grow in full sun or in partial shade. Grow your Crimson King red leaf maple as an excellent shade tree. The Crimson King maple grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 7, with cooler winters and minimum annual temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees F.

Dig a planting hole for your Crimson King maple that is twice the width of the root ball and slightly shallower. Loosen the soil on the sides and bottom of the planting hole with your shovel.

Mix into the displaced soil some organic compost. Make the backfill soil about one-third compost and two-thirds native soil.

Remove the Crimson King maple tree’s root ball from the nursery container or burlap. Uncurl and gently loosen the roots.

Place the root ball into the planting hole with the tree standing straight upright. Turn and position the tree so that its most attractive side will show.

Backfill the planting hole with the amended displaced soil, packing the soil down with your feet as you fill the planting hole every 2 or 3 inches. Backfill the rest of the soil into the planting hole so that it just barely covers the top of the root ball and the trunk isn’t buried.

Create a berm or soil ridge in a circle around the tree, just slightly wider than the root ball. Water inside the ridge circle to fill the berm, and allow the water to drain into the soil. Repeat the watering until the tree has received about 15 gallons of water.

Stake the red leaf maple tree by inserting two or three wooden stakes around the tree, outside the root ball. Tie the tree to the stakes using soft twine. Remove the stakes and ties when the tree can support itself, usually after six to 12 months.

Spread a 4-inch layer of bark mulch over the planting area to control weed growth and retain soil moisture around the Crimson King maple. Keep the mulch about 2 to 3 inches away from the trunk.


Water your Crimson King red leaf maple once every week for at least the first month after planting it. Fill the berm with water, allow the water to drain and then fill it again.


Be careful when you’re mowing your lawn around the Crimson King red leaf maple tree, because this tree produces large surface roots. Keeping a thick layer of mulch around the root zone of the tree can eliminate the need for mowing close to these surface roots.

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