The Q&A Archives: Coral Bark Japanese Maple

Question: I have just purchased a beautiful coral bark in a 7 gallon container. I plan to put into a large container as an accent in a bed next to my front door. I need to know what soil mixture I should use in the container. Also, will the poly containers be o.k. to plant in or should I use a glazed ceramic?

Answer: It doesn't really matter what container you use, as long as it has adequate drainage holes. You can keep your tree in the 7 gallon pot for a year or two and set the plastic pot in a decorative ceramic pot if you'd like. Otherwise plan on moving it up to a larger and larger pot as the tree grows. If the roots are too restricted, you'll end up with a dwarf tree. I'd plan on potting it up into a 10 gallon sized container next spring (when new growth begins). When roots begin to escape from the drainage holes, repot into a 12 or 15 gallon pot. Repotting every 2-3 years will give you an opportunity to replenish the old soil. You can use commercial potting soil until the tree and the pot get really big - at that time you'll want to use a 50-50 mix of potting soil and garden soil. The garden soil will add weight to the pot to keep the tree from toppling over if it gets windy.

Enjoy your beautiful new tree!

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