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How do you care for Acer palmatums?

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Quick Answer

Acer palmatums, otherwise known as Japanese maples, require staking as young trees to protect them from wind damage and covering when spring frosts threaten. Prune the trees in late summer or early autumn, and winterize by mulching around the tree. Plant in moist, well-drained soil with full to partial sun.

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Full Answer

Acer palmatums are popular garden plants and may also be grown in containers. These trees are prized for their blazing autumn colors. The lifespan of the Japanese maple can be well over 100 years. They are easily transplanted as young trees but become less tolerant of being moved as they age. A mature maple can range from 6 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide.

Acer palmatums need room for their roots to spread. When planting, dig the hole twice as wide as the root ball. Soak the root ball in a bucket of water until all air bubbles disappear. Plant the tree so the surface of the root ball is just below the soil surface. Fill in around the root ball with a mixture of planting compost and soil removed from the hole. Japanese maples have low nutrient requirements and do not need to be fertilized. Water frequently during the first few years.

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