The Q&A Archives: Planting Maple Trees

Question: I recently purchased 2 maple trees in 15 gal containers. Is it OK to plant them now? Also, shold I do any pruning on them when I do plant.

Answer: If you can wait until the weather is a little cooler, your new maples won't suffer quite so much transplant stress. If you need to plant them now you can, but expect some wilting and falling leaves. It's best not to prune your maples until they've had a chance to establish themselves. While they are dormant this winter you can prune them, or in the early spring just as they begin to leaf out. When it's time to plant, dig a hole the same depth and slightly wider than the nursery pot and rough up all the soil in the hole. Then unpot your tree and set it in the hole, backfilling with the soil you took out of the hole. The tree should be at the same soil level as it was growing in the pot. Water it well to help settle the soil and then make a watering basin or watering well by mounding up a few inches of soil all around the tree, about 12 inches out from the trunk. Plan to water deeply once each week during the growing season by filling the well with water, allowing it to drain, and then filling it a second time. This will concentrate the moisture directly over the root mass and allow it to trickle down, wetting the entire root system. Best wishes with your new trees!

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