Maple trees are hardy and low-maintenance, offering a beautiful display of brilliantly colored foliage throughout the fall. There are about 125 different maple tree varieties, most of which can withstand freezing winter temperatures. Maple trees require the most care and maintenance during the first few years after planting them. Afterward, most maple trees can thrive with the native soil nutrients and regular rainfall, depending on the conditions of the area where the trees are growing. You should plant your maple tree in early or mid-spring, in moist but well-draining soil and partial shade.
Water your maple trees deeply once each week during the first two or three growing seasons, soaking the soil down to the root area and providing at least 1½ inches of water. After the maple trees are established, water them once every week when rainfall doesn’t provide the minimum 1½ inches of water.
Keep a 2- to 3-foot area around your maple tree free of weeds, especially during the first year after planting the tree. Pull weeds by hand and spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of bark mulch in a 2- to 3-foot-diameter circle around the base of your maple tree.
Feed your maple tree a slow-release 10-10-10 NPK (nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium) fertilizer once every two weeks in the spring and once each month through the summer. Follow the dosage instructions on the fertilizer label and stop feeding the maple tree by mid-fall to allow the maple tree to prepare for the winter dormant season.
Prune your maple trees in late winter to remove any dead, diseased or damaged growth. Don’t remove more than one-third of the maple tree’s branches in a single year.
Prepare your maple trees for winter by watering the trees deeply to saturate the soil around the roots before the first hard freeze. Spread a dose of fertilizer around the root area in late September or early October to encourage the roots to continue growing during the winter months.