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?
Here is a quick preview of our top 4 picks. For more information, please continue reading.
- Happy Frog Japanese Maple Fertilizer
- Humboldt’s Secret Golden Tree
- Dr. Earth All Purpose Fertilizer
- 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.
Fertilizing trees can be tricky for the homeowner, often times more difficult than feeding their other shrubs, flowering ornamentals, or garden plants. 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 container 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.
Our top 4 picks
- Happy Frog Japanese Maple Fertilizer – One of the most highly recommended products for Japanese maple trees, Happy Frog Japanese Maple Fertilizer 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. Feed trees by top-dressing monthly per the recommended rates on the fertilizer label.
- Humboldt’s Secret Golden Tree – Golden Tree is a unique product for use on Japanese maple trees; it is the signature product for Humboldt’s Secret and proven to increase root strength by 60%. Its proprietary blend of kelp, amino acids, carbohydrates, and other organic ingredients adds nutrients to the soil to activate enzymes involved in plant growth and helps to increase the rate of photosynthesis and cell division within the tree.Use it 1 -3 times a week when watering to encourage faster root growth and over plant sustainability.
- Dr. Earth All Purpose Fertilizer – Although not tree specific, Dr. Earth’s All Purpose 5-5-5 Fertilizer 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.Sprinkle Dr. Earth’s All Purpose Fertilizer on the soil, per the label’s recommended rates, at the tree’s drip line and water in for maximum benefits.
- Miracle-Gro 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 run off and the possibility of over application. The special blend of nutrients in Miracle-Gro Fertilizer Spikes for Trees and Shrubs 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.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.