Q:

How do you winterize a dwarf Japanese maple?

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Quick Answer

Dwarf Japanese maples feature small crimson leaves on interlaced branches in a weeping habit. They are a graceful, elegant element in any landscape. Winter care begins in late fall. Gather a pair of disinfected hand pruners, a 10-10-10 fertilizer and mulch to winterize a dwarf Japanese maple.

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Full Answer

  1. Fall preparation

    Fertilize your tree with 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter. Dust the powder just below the outer edge of the foliage, at least 2 feet beyond the trunk.

  2. Early winter pruning

    Aim for a compact design that will withstand harsh conditions. Target diseased, wilted or broken branches, and clip them with the smaller blade flush to the trunk to eliminate any stubs. Clear the center by cutting the smaller branch at intersections, for trunk visibility. Trim to minimize snow accumulation. Remove the leaves at the ends of long branches to prevent them from freezing to the ground.

  3. Winter maintenance

    Protect your tree beyond the root line with a layer of bark mulch, 3 to 4 inches in depth, leaving 2 to 3 inches at the trunk open for drainage and air circulation. Leave ice, but remove snow promptly after snowstorms to discourage icing and reduce branch breakage.

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