Experts warn that using too much fertiliser can actually “kill your tree.” While Japanese maples require some fertilisation, it is crucial to apply it correctly to avoid lasting damage to your garden.

According to Michael J. McGroarty, a Japanese maple expert, these trees do not tolerate excessive amounts of commercial fertilizer. He advises that “no fertiliser is better than too much.”

Applying too much fertiliser will not make the Japanese maple grow faster; instead, it can lead to the tree’s demise. Japanese maples thrive in rich soil with ample organic matter that drains well.

Japanese Maple Online experts agree that while excessive fertiliser is harmful, a moderate amount is necessary for the healthy growth of acer trees.

They recommend maintaining a low level of fertility throughout the season to keep the trees happy and thriving. It is important to avoid using high nitrogen lawn fertilizers on Japanese maples, as they prefer slower growth and thicker stems. There are other fertilisation mistakes gardeners make too, including one that can kill off your hydrangeas. 

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Knowing when to fertilise Japanese maples is just as important as using the right amount. The experts advise fertilising either in late winter when the ground is still cold or after the last freeze in spring.

Slow-release fertilisers such as Polyon or Osmocote are highly recommended for Japanese maples. These controlled-release fertilizers provide consistent nourishment and are commonly used in Japanese maple production.

For newly grown or transplanted Japanese maples, it is crucial not to fertilize them right away. It is best to wait until their second growing season before applying fertiliser.

This allows the trees enough time to adapt to their new environment. When starting to fertilize Japanese maples, the goal is to maintain a constant low level of fertility. High levels of nitrogen should be avoided as they can weaken the plant.

When applying fertilizer to Japanese maples, it is recommended to use a controlled-release type. Instead of scattering the fertiliser on the soil surface, it is more effective to create holes around six inches deep into the soil, halfway between the main trunk and the drip line of the branches.

Divide the fertiliser between the holes, tuck the pellets into them, and fill the holes with soil. Proper irrigation is essential after fertilization.

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