The Japanese Maple Perhaps one of the most misunderstood plants is the Japanese Maple. Ask any gardener, novice or expert, and he/she has probably heard of Japanese Maples. The Japanese Maple is here on the Central Coast and flourishing. As a matter of fact, new varieties are now available that make growing the Japanese Maple even easier. This post will show you just how easy growing maples can be. By following a few simple guidelines, and you’ll be able to experience the excitement of growing this majestic plant.
There are well over 450 varieties of Japanese Maples. There are two varieties that are grown from seed, a green seedling and a red seedling. All other varieties are grafted. Seedlings are very easy to propagate and therefore are always less expensive than those that are grafted. The only draw back is that grafted varieties offer better resistance. Grafting is very scientific and quite an art form. Grafted varieties assure consistency within a variety.

Now, the question is, How do I grow Japanese Maples in the sun without burning them? One solution is healthy soil that can retain moisture. If you plant the maple in sandy soils, without proper soil preparation, the tree can dry out and burn in the sun and even in the shade. If you prepare the soil correctly, there will be minimal problems, if any at all. So, the solution is simple, follow these guidelines and enjoy a beautiful Japanese Maple.

Location is the first thing to consider. Green and most red varieties will take full sun very well along the Central Coast. However, during the really hot weather, they may sunburn slightly. Late afternoon shade can reduce burning. A great defense against burning new growth in warm whether is to spray cloud cover during the late spring. This will help retain moisture in the leaves during hot, dry, and windy summer days.

The best soil for the Japanese Maple is a sandy loam with a moderate presence of organic matter. Japanese Maples also prefer slightly acidic soil. These types of conditions are hard to find naturally, and therefore, we recommend using the Master Nursery ‘Camellia Azalea and Gardenia Planting Mix. We recommend using 75% of the planting mix with native soil. When planting Japanese Maples in containers use 100% planting mix. Never use concrete containers and always make sure there are holes in the bottom of your planter. Don’t forget to mix in Master Start, starter fertilizer, to initiate good deep root growth.

Next is proper watering. Salts in our water and soil will burn the roots of Maples. It is important to deep water maples on a regular basis. A deep watering will leach away salts, downward and away from the roots. Proper soil drainage is also key. Dig out a lot of soil and fill the hole up with water. If the water is gone the next morning, then the hole is deep enough.

Extreme alkaline conditions prevent the maples from performing well. You will need to adjust the pH with an acid fertilizer; such as Azalea Camellia and Gardenia fertilizer. This is better because it has sulfur in it to help acidify. To grow Japanese Maples successfully, keep their roots cool and moist. Mulching to cool the roots is the next vital guideline to growing maples. I like to use shredded red cedar bark or gorilla hair, both of which are available at McShane’s Nursery and Landscape Supply. You can also use a white wash or tree wrap on the trunk to prevent sunburn by reflecting the sun and preventing cracking of the bark. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact one of our Nursery Professionals.

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How To Care For Your Japanese Maple Trees