How do I plant a bloodgood japanese maple - Knowledgebase Question

San Rafael, CA
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Question by annie040
July 20, 2005
I bought a japanese maple and it did not make it. The area where I planted it seems perfect for the bloodgood maple, so I'm thinking I did something wrong in planting it. Can you please tell me exactly how I should plant it? I want to try again.

Thank you!

Answer from NGA
July 20, 2005
These trees prefer an evenly moist, humusy or organic soil that is slightly acidic. So the first thing to do would be to run some basic soil tests and see if your soil is suitable for the tree. Your county extension or local nursery should be able to help you with the test and interpreting the result. Next you will want to site the tree in a spot that has just morning sun or bright dappled light all day. It should also be protected from wind, especially in the winter. When you are ready to plant, prepare a hole several times wider and as deep as the rootball. Loosen any encircling roots and plant the tree at the same depth as it grew before. Water deeply to settle the soil and then mulch with several inches of organic mulch such as double shredded harwood bark. Cover the entire root area with mulch but do not allow the mulch to touch the trunk. The mulch will help keep the soil cool and moist and will help keep down weeds. It will also help feed the soil as it breaks down over time. Maintain the layer at two to three inches year round. During the first year, water the tree as needed to keep the soil evenly moist but not sopping wet. Dig down and check the rootball as well as the surrounding soil, since the root ball may dry out faster than the native soil. Watering deeper less often is better than a daily light sprinkling. In subsequent years, water as needed in times of drought and in hot dry spells during the summer. Enjoy your tree, it makes a lovely specimen.

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