6 Steps For Planting Maple Trees

6 Steps For Planting Maple Trees

large blog header

The mighty Maple has graced front and back yards and has been a beloved fall color and shade tree for centuries! At first glance, the astonishing crimson-red leaves of tall Maple trees take our breath far enough away that we instantly decide then and there that a few would look absolutely incredible planted in the landscape.

No one can overlook the regal Maple (genus Acer), and you’ll find a stunning selection of Maple trees for sale at Nature Hills Nursery. We're proud to offer the most popular species of beautiful Maples for sale in the United States. This includes the Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Silver Maple, Japanese Maple, Norway, and Black Maple.

One of their most enduring features is the fall foliage, which turns such beautiful fall colors. Bronze, oranges, yellows, reds, and purples burst out in the fall, creating wonderful landscape views.

All this and delicious Maple syrup too!

Make Room For the Maple

Planting Maple trees may seem like a very straightforward process. It is similar to the act of planting most other trees. But there are a few very important things to first consider before purchasing and planting a Maple!

The Biggest Consideration - Roots! roots from an old tree

You'll get a great balance of strength and speed with the Maple tree! All varieties of Maple trees will be the show-stoppers of the fall season and continue shining green in summer and spring! But what people fail to notice is that some Maple trees have extensive root systems!

There are some considerations, however, to understand before planting Maple trees. Some Maple trees, like the fast-growing Silver Maple, have aggressive root systems that can be close to the surface and should be planted away from sidewalks or foundations.

Find a tree's mature width and divide it by half … this is roughly how far from a sidewalk, driveway, your home's foundation, or underground system (Sprinkler/Septic/Cistern, etc.) the tree should be planted to avoid any future heartache.

Some Maples also tend to grow roots near the surface with instances of them peaking above the soil. Spread mulch under the canopy to cover any roots close to the surface instead of trying to grow grass. Mowing over them may end up hurting your tree in the long run.

Without a doubt, fast-growing Maples get quite large and need room to spread to appreciate their glistening leaves in their full glory. So get ready to give them plenty of room now and in the future - both above and below ground.

Timing and Location

While you can plant a Maple tree anytime the ground isn't frozen, many prefer to plant in the early spring or fall the best. The cooler air temperatures slow down the top growth of the plants, so cool air, and warm soil = new roots! maple tree located by a house

Nature Hills has an extensive collection that grows in a wide range of areas, spanning from zones 3 through 10. Head over to each Maples Plant Highlights page to find its width and mature height and that way you will know which variety will work for you and your space! Narrow down by your USDA Hardiness Zone and then pick your tree!

Once you find the right tree for your growing zone and location, it's time to make sure that location is right for a tree! 

  1. Maples need full sun and a few do well in partial sun. So choose a location in your yard with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.
  2. Choose an area in your yard with deep, enriched, and very well-drained soil. 3.
  3. When ordering, don’t forget to order the Nature Hills Root Booster for lifelong support at the roots

Planting a Maple Tree In 6 Easy Steps!

Once you receive your tree, follow the included instructions to prep your root system for planting right away. Soaking the roots primes the root system for planting and rehydrates the tree after its journey in a box. 

While your tree is soaking, go ahead and get your planting site ready. infographic

  1. The hole should be dug large enough to house the entire root system, and not be too crowded. Loosen and dig an area twice the width of your new tree root system but keep the depth the same. Be careful not to plant too deep or too shallow - maintaining the same planting depth as it came in its nursery container.
  2. Fill the hole with water and soak the entire area. Then sprinkle in the Root Booster.
  3. Remove your Tree from its container, Grow Bag, or the bareroot from its bag, and set it into the hole. Add or remove soil to bring the current root depth up to level with the surrounding soil. 
  4. Backfill with native topsoil and tamp down to fill in any air pockets.
  5. Water well until it pools and let that water drain away, then water again. 
  6. Provide a 3-4 inch layer of mulch over the soil surface. Mulch not only enriches the soil as it breaks down, but arborist bark chips insulate the roots from heat and cold while regulating soil moisture.

When planting young Maple trees, a stake may be required to protect the plant from wind or other natural circumstances. Check out the Tree Starter Kit which has everything you need to get started! 

tree starter kit


And if you have rodents and deer (both browsing and deer antler damage), then you need to provide your new tree with trunk protection for the winter. During the growing season, spray them with a deer repellent - from the moment it's planted and continue often per the package directions to train the deer to avoid your tree.

Maple Tree After Planting Care

  • Use the Finger-Test Method to know how often to water for the next year of your new tree's life. If your soil feels moist a few inches below the mulch and soil level, skip watering and check again the next day. If the soil feels dry, water very well. Check again the next day and repeat until the tree makes new roots in your soil and can start finding water and food on its own. Pay close attention to watering if you plant in summer, those temps can dry new plants out quickly - you may be watering twice a day in high temperatures.  watering a tree
  • After establishing, continue to water during drought and before you put that hose away for the winter…. take a bit of time to water the roots of your tree to ensure good survivability. Water throughout the fall to keep your tree roots from going through winter dormancy without moisture access.
  • Prune Maples after they leaf out to avoid dripping sap. As your tree gets older, shape it with strategic pruning cuts. The goal is to encourage a well-balanced, open canopy with one single leader. Trees need good air circulation and sunlight penetration into the canopy. 

pruning a tree

Happy Maple Trees From Day One!

Reach out to us at customer-support.naturehills.com or call our plant experts with any questions or with help placing your order and finding the perfect Maple for your yard! As one of the most beloved trees in our online nursery, it’s tough to go wrong with a stately Maple!

Browse the sensational selection of Maple trees for sale at Nature Hills Nursery and place your order today!

← Previous Next →