Last Updated on November 6, 2022
What is the best soil for maple trees? When is the best time to plant a maple tree? Find out more about how to grow these most beautiful and useful of trees. The maple tree is a grand, majestic tree – a gift from generation to generation. So get planting as soon as possible!
When Is The Best Time To Plant A Maple Tree?
70 years ago in my experience! My Dad planted a maple tree when he was a little boy of 7 years old at the entrance to their family house in Vineland Station, Canada. Seventy years later this tree is a giant, beautiful stately tree that overshadows the house next to it, casting shade in summer, turning red in fall, and looking ghostly in winter. This majestic tree is a good example of the old saying “When is the best time to plant a tree? Fifty years ago, and the next best time is right now.”
Jokes aside, the most optimistic time to plant a maple tree sapling is either spring or fall. These are the times when you will have the greatest success.
So now you have decided to plant your maple tree to enjoy in your life and hand it on to future generations to enjoy as well. You may be wondering what the best soil for maple trees is.
What Is The Best Soil For Maple Trees?
If we look at the zone that these trees grow naturally in, it is a region that is characterized by deep, well-developed well-drained soils that are neutral to very slightly acidic. The chances are if you are planting a maple tree you actually live in the zone from which they come and your soil probably fits the above description.
There are in fact many different types of maples, but they tend to have relatively similar soil requirements. A pH of between 5 and 7 is ideal (this covers about 80% of the world’s soil ranges!!).
How To Plant A Maple Tree
When we plant any tree we try to give it the best bit of soil around its young roots that is possible. In this regard, digging a hole that is a few feet square and deep and removing all of the soil, and putting this aside will help. Now you can remove some of this soil and replace it with compost and a slow-release fertilizer such as this.
Place the sapling in the hole so that the soil line in its bag lines up with the top of the hole – you do not want to bury the sapling too deep. Now you can remove the bag with scissors, place the sapling gently in its hole and fill the hole with the remaining soil. Any left over soil can be used to make a small reservoir around the tree into which you can place water in dry periods.
What Is The Best Fertilizer For Maple Trees?
Maple trees are quite resourceful and as they grow they will seek out nutrients. You will note in the planting instructions I suggested including a slow-release fertilizer in your soil mix. This provides phosphate, nitrogen, and potassium amongst others for the young sapling and helps it establish itself rapidly.
As the tree grows it will deplete the nutrients you provided in the hole. This is where you may need to supplement nutrients for the first few years – I know that an ideal fertilizer for maples is in fact chicken manure – if you can get this, sprinkle it in a thin layer for a few feet around the tree in spring, mid-summer and fall. This provides the tree with a lovely natural source of nutrients and helps to build up the surface soil quality around the tree.
If you are unable to get chicken manure I would suggest a slow-release organic fertilizer containing an abundance of nitrogen, less phosphorous, and slightly more potassium – this is often denoted by numbers on the bag such as 2:3:2 – the first number is for nitrogen, the second phosphorous, and the third is for potassium. Ideally, you would want a fertilizer where the first number is bigger than the second, the last number is also bigger than the second but not as big as the first!! This sounds funny, but there are so many formulations out there, that you can easily just go and look for something that is for instance a 10:4:6 or a similar type of ratio.
When To Fertilize Maple Trees?
Maple trees, as with a number of other deciduous trees perform a curious activity where their roots continue growing in the fall after their leaves have dropped and will seek out nutrients that are then stored for spring growth. Hence fertilizing them in late summer and fall ensures that they are well-provisioned for spring.
Follow the dosing instructions on the fertilizer you buy – you can kill a tree easily by over-fertilizing it.
I believe in giving all trees a boost of wood ash in spring – sprinkle this around the soil and it provides a nice potassium spike in spring and the trees always love this.
In Conclusion – What Is The Best Soil For Maple Trees?
In this article, you have seen that the best soil for maple trees is deep, well-drained loam-type soil. This can be simulated by digging a hole and mixing compost with whatever soil you have, together with a slow-release organic fertilizer.
We have taken a pleasant walk down memory lane and seen that planting a maple tree is something we do to enjoy a nice tree in our life and to pass the gift of a giant tree on to future generations. Given that many species of maple can live for a few hundred years, planting a maple now is really a nice thing to do for many future generations! Long after people have forgotten who you are, they will enjoy your tree! This is humbling to consider.
Ensure that your maple is in the best health by giving it fertilizer in the fall, to feed its roots so that in spring, when its new leaves are formed it has everything it needs to grow fast. This tree needs a fertilizer that is rich in Nitrogen and Potassium and contains slightly less by the ratio of Phosphorous. In other words it will have a number such as 10:4:6 denoting an abundance of Nitrogen, moderate Phosphorous, and slightly less abundant Potassium.