Are you looking for the best fertilizer for Japanese maple trees?
If so, look no further.
In this post, we are going to take a closer look at what to look for in a good fertilizer and which one is the best for Japanese maple trees. Let’s begin…
What is the best fertilizer for Japanese maple trees?
The quick answer is Japan maple trees like other trees do better with a slow release fertilizer. This gives them a steady supply of nutrients over a period of time rather than a quick shot of food. In addition, look for fertilizers that have a high nitrogen level as this will contribute to their overall health.
Here is a quick preview of our top 4 picks. For more information, please continue reading.
- Happy Frog Japanese Maple
- TreeHelp Annual Care
- Dr. Earth All Purpose
- Miracle-Gro Fertilizer Spikes for Trees and Shrubs
What to look for in the right fertilizer
Japanese maple trees make an attractive addition to the home landscape. They are known for their striking fall color, their elegant structure, and finely-cut leaf margins.
The gorgeous fall foliage seen on Japanese maple trees remains on the tree for weeks and then spills onto the garden floor into a brilliant pool of orange, red, or gold adding a canopy of color to the often dull autumn landscape.
To keep the plant looking heathy, you need to choose the right fertilizer.
To encourage optimum growth and coloration in your Japanese maple tree it is important to provide the tree with the nutrients it needs.
All plants have fifteen essential nutrients that are necessary for vital reactions within the plant, trees included: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, sodium, boron, chlorine, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, molybdenum and nickel.
A fertilizer containing nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) will provide the macro-nutrients a tree needs for optimum growth.
Nitrogen’s main responsibility in the plant is regulating vegetative growth. Nitrogen is assimilated in the plant into amino acids, the building blocks of protein; it is also a major component of chlorophyll and helps to keep foliage green; and nitrogen is necessary for many of the plant’s enzymatic reactions.
Phosphorus is a structural component in DNA and RNA (the genetic building blocks within plant cells) and is needed for root growth and flowering.
Potassium works more indirectly in plants than nitrogen and phosphorus. While it isn’t a component of any plant parts, it functions by activating the enzymatic reactions that occur, making it imperative for the overall health of the plant.
It is extremely easy to add too much fertilizer, too quickly, after planting a new tree in the hopes of encouraging quick, immediate growth. The mindset that if a little is good, a lot is even better can be detrimental in this case.
Japanese maples, like most other trees, need to establish a solid, strong, root system after being planted before the homeowner can start a proper fertilizer regimen; much to the dismay of the homeowner this could take 1-2 growing seasons after planting a tree in their garden or landscape.
When trees are overfertilized, especially when the root system is not strong enough to handle this nutrient overload, it can weaken the overall health of the tree.
This, in turn, makes the Japanese maple tree more susceptible to disease attacks and dieback in the stems.
When it’s the appropriate time to fertilizer your Japanese maple and you are looking for a tree-specific fertilizer, it’s best to find a slow-release formula that will deliver a small, steady stream of nutrients to the tree.
Japanese maple trees prefer fertilizers that contain a higher ratio of nitrogen than phosphorus or potassium since nitrogen is needed in the tree in much higher quantities than the two other macronutrients.
Tree fertilizers aren’t as prolific as all-purpose or plant-specific fertilizers but there are some good options available for purchase, including some organic products.
A Closer Look At My Top 4 Picks
- Nutrient Ratio: 4-8-5 – Lower nitrogen in this case for cooler weather trees
- Slow Release
- East to follow directions
One of the most highly recommended products for Japanese maple trees, Happy Frog Japanese Maple has a formulation that contains a lower nitrogen concentration (a 4-8-5 nutrient ratio) to support growth in the cooler weather Japanese maple trees prefer.
Derived from feather meal, bone meal, cottonseed meal, fish meal, fish bone meal, alfalfa meal, sulfate of potash magnesia, bat guano, and gypsum to create a natural, organic product.
The fertilizer’s low pH helps encourage the roots to take in and utilize phosphorus and potassium for explosive leaf coloration during the autumn months.
Application Tips: Feed trees by top-dressing monthly per the recommended rates on the fertilizer label.
- Complete care package
- Use for young and old trees
- Can be applied anytime throughout the year.
Whether you have a young maple tree or an older maple tree, the next on our list is definitely going to liven things up and get people’s attention on your block.
It is TreeHelp Annual Care specifically designed for Japanese Maples trees.
As the name implies, this is more than just plant food. This is a complete care package designed to maintain/revive your tree’s beauty.
This package contains a number of different components. First, it has what your tree needs to build a strong root system. Next, the fertilizer contains the right mixture of macro and micronutrients to keep your tree healthy.
The plant food is slow release giving your tree a healthy supply of food.
Some of the ingredients listed are beneficial bacteria, humic acid extracts, pathogen-fighting fungi, soluble sea kelp, yucca plant extracts, amino acids, and vitamins.
- Granular / Slow release
- Non-Maple Tree Specific
Although not tree specific, Dr. Earth’s All Purpose 5-5-5 is a great, granular, organic option that works well on all garden and landscape plants, trees included.
This slow release formula is rich in humic acid, helping to increase nutrient uptake through the roots and overall drought tolerance.
Application Tips: Simply sprinkle this plant food on the soil, per the label’s recommended rates, at the tree’s drip line and water in for maximum benefits.
- Nutrient Ratio: 15-5-10
- Slow Release
- Use twice a year
- Non-Japanese Maple Tree Specific
To conclude our list we want to take a look at Miracle-Gro’s Fertilizer Spikes for Trees and Shrubs.
Miracle-Gro fertilizers are known throughout the industry to have proven, positive results. These pre-measured fertilizer spikes with a nutrient ration of 15-5-10 provide balanced feeding throughout the entire growing season while minimizing fertilizer runoff and the possibility of over application.
This special blend of nutrients is formulated specifically for deciduous trees. Essential nutrients are released gradually over the entire growing season, allowing you to fertilize once to provide season-long feeding.
Application Tips: The easy to use Miracle-Gro tree spikes are inserted into the soil at the drip line for optimum nutrient delivery to the root zone; use in the spring and fall for optimum growth.
Known for their gorgeous display of color, Japanese maple trees will provide a stunning addition to any landscape during the often dull autumn season.
Fertilizer regimens need to be carefully monitored to avoid overloading root systems as they establish themselves after planting.
Once the root systems are strong enough to handle regular fertilization, it’s easy to keep them healthy and fertilized with the best fertilizer for Japanese maple trees such as the ones mentioned in this post.
Proper feeding and care will help ensure optimal growth in the Japanese maple which will help foster a gorgeous display of fall colors.
What do you think is the best Japanese maple fertilizer? Please share with us your thoughts in the comments below.