Crimson Queen Japanese Maple

(Question)

We have just bought a small specimen – 30 inches tall, it says it needs full sun, however , neighbours have it in partial shade
-we have clay soil generally
– please suggest how we need to amend soil and best sun/shade recommendation
– the tips of the leaves are turning white/beige – would this be stress from not getting in to the soil ???

(Answer)

The Crimson King Maple can live happily in full sun and will survive in part shade but it would prefer more sunshine. It also likes well drained soil although it adapts to most soils. Your maple would appreciate some compost mixed in with the clay soil when you plant it both for the organic matter to improve the drainage and soil quality but also for it’s nutrients. (The roots will rot if left in standing water). On the other hand, maples also have a shallow root system and need to be kept moist.  Since they can’t reach deep into the ground to get water like other trees with a more extensive root system we have to ensure that it gets enough water especially when it is first planted and during drier spells in our weather. The white tips are likely from drought stress. Please ensure that it is well watered while it is still in the container and choose a cooler time to plant your tree. Generally, it is planted early to mid spring but it can be planted at other times as long as it is a bit cooler and the soil is not allowed to completely dry out. The fall would be a better time to plant this tree as it will likely be stressed in the summer heat. Once planted, adding 2-3 inches of mulch on top of the root zone (but  also 3-4 inches away from the trunk of the tree so it doesn’t contribute to the trunk rotting) will help it to keep  moist and  protect the establishing roots over the winter. The mulch will also break down and add more needed organic matter to your soil. Best of luck with the Maple tree!