Plant a red maple tree by digging a suitable hole, placing the tree in the hole and watering it thoroughly for the first several weeks while it becomes established. Red maples come in a variety of cultivars, so be sure to select one that is well suited for the area in which it is to be planted.
Dig the hole approximately 1 to 2 feet wider than the root ball is, and about the same depth as the height of the root ball. Do not dig the hole too deep, which can cause the tree to suffer from trunk rot as it grows. Do not place gravel or rocks in the base of the hole, as this tree does well in damp soil. Break the root ball up slightly and spread the roots out throughout the hole.
The best time for planting red maple trees is in the fall. The reason the fall is the best time for tree planting is that the temperatures are still warm enough to permit root growth, which allows the trees to establish themselves, but the trees are not stressed by the need to produce new leaves or fruit. Many horticulturists recommend pinching off any fruit buds that develop during the first growing season, so that the plant can concentrate its efforts on producing roots.
Most red maple trees are usually purchased as saplings, because they are easy to transplant. They require moist soil, but are adaptable to different soil types. They thrive in hardiness zones 3 through 9, but do require full sun exposure for proper growth.