Transplanting a Japanese Maple

(Question)

How can I safely move a fairly mature Japanese maple tree?  This tree is unusual in that it is an amazing orange/yellow colour with a touch of red in the Fall and is really worth trying to keep.  It’s not the normal dark red colour and I do not know its name.

 

(Answer)

From the leaf colour description most likely your tree is  Acer palmatum “orange dream” which unfortunately is hard to find in Canada.

See https://www.gardenality.com/Plants/2269/Trees/Orange-Dream-Japanese-Maple.html to verify. Also run an image search in Google using the terms “orange dream Japanese maple” to see if this variety matches your tree.

Woody plants can be transplanted quite successfully if you plan well beforehand.  The best time is when the tree is dormant either before it leaf’s out in early spring or in the Fall before the soil freezes. Care is needed when digging up the root ball so as not to damage the roots. The root ball should be ten times, or more, wider than the tree’s trunk diameter.  Choose the new site in accordance with the trees growing requirements and make sure that the hole will accommodate the root ball with room to spare. Japanese maples prefer a site sheltered from the wind in well drained soil.  They can tolerate full sun to shade but do need protection from the midday sun.  The higher the light conditions the more colourful the leaves. Back fill hole with garden soil.  The addition of organic matter is not vital.  However, a surface application with dry fertilizer is a good idea.

The following websites provide even more details for moving/transplanting trees which should be useful:-

https://www.japanesemaplesonline.com

https://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/pdf/hgic1055.pdf

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/ho-100.pdf

https://www.chesavage.com/move_maple/