The Japanese maple from the Far East has no special requirements but is nevertheless happy to be fertilized. We show how to fertilize maple correctly. Maple (Acer) is a diverse tree species, which can be found in temperate latitudes all over the world.
While our native maple species such as the Norway maple (Acer platanoides) and the sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) can grow into huge trees, Japanese maple species usually remain small. All the more impressive is their splendid autumn coloration, which meanwhile transforms many gardens into a true color spectacle. The two most common species are the real Japanese maple (Acer japonicum) and the fan maple (Acer palmatum). These two are very similar and are both commonly called Japanese maple.
Although different sorts and even different species are counted among Japanese maple, they have quite similar demands. No wonder, since they all originate – as the name suggests – from the Japanese region. There they grow naturally in forests that are rather humid and mildly temperate due to the proximity to the sea. And if the habitat is already so similar, then it is also the needs and demands that the plants make.
The basic rule for fertilization is: The most beautiful autumn coloration is brought by those specimens of Japanese maple that have been fertilized the least. So less is definitely more. In their native country, these decorative plants usually grow on stony ground where nutrients are not exactly richly sown. Therefore, fertilize them according to their needs and sparingly.
The Perfect Time To Fertilize Maple
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In spring, between April and May, the growing season for Japanese maple begins. This is also the time to supply the sprawling plant with nutrients. For this purpose, choose only slow-release fertilizer that releases its nutrients over time. This one-time fertilization in spring is perfectly sufficient for the undemanding plant. Fertilization at a later date can even lead to damage in winter if the plant does not stop growing in time due to too many nutrients.
How To Fertilize Maple Correctly
Japanese maple should not be excessively fertilized. Too much will affect the stability, health, and leaf color of the plant. Especially an excess of nitrogen can lead to susceptibility to cold and instability.
Planted specimens often do not even need to be fertilized at all. In their environment, there are usually enough nutrients that the plants can reach with their roots. Especially if you do not remove the fallen leaves, there will always be enough nutrients available. Potted plants, on the other hand, do not have such a rich selection and are happy about long-term fertilization, which they receive in spring.
Fertilize Maple Organically: Application Recommendation
The best organic fertilizer for Japanese Maple is its own leaves. These contain all the nutrients that the maple needs. As soon as they fall from the tree, they are decomposed by a host of soil-dwelling organisms. In this way, the nutrients are released for the plant and can be reabsorbed.
However, if the leaves are removed in the autumn, important nutrients are withdrawn. This contains just the right ratio of nutrients to get the plant through the year, whether planted out or in a pot. When applying the fertilizer, please note that the Japanese maple is a flat-root plant. Therefore, when mixing in the fertilizer, do not dig too deep to avoid damaging the roots.
Mineral Fertilizer For Maple
If you decide on mineral fertilizers, you should also attach importance to the long-term effect. Mineral fertilizers are usually quickly available for the plant, but must also be given very regularly. This quickly becomes too much for the Japanese maple. It is therefore better to choose a depot fertilizer with which you can supply the tree once in spring.
Fertilizing Maple Naturally With Household Remedies
As with most plants, you can use your old coffee grounds for the Japanese maple. Simply mix a portion of it into the upper layer of soil in spring. Coffee grounds have the advantage that in addition to the nutrients, they also have a certain acidity. Since Japanese maple feels good at a pH value between 4.5 and 7, i.e. in the acidic to the slightly acidic range, this household remedy is therefore ideal. The nutrient content in coffee grounds is also not very high, which only benefits the already quite undemanding maple.