How to grow an Acer tree
Garden Journal 27/04/2017
Acer Palmatum (common name Japanese Maples) cultivars are slow growing, and therefore small, deciduous trees. They are sought after for the stunning colours of their leaves, which make them a centre piece of the garden in spring & autumn.
Unlike many trees, Acers are perfect for growing in containers, although you can of course put them straight into the ground.
Light requirements vary according to the colour of the leaves.
The RHS recommends that red and purple leaved Acers are placed in a sunny spot to develop their hues, whilst green, white & pink leaves are better placed in dappled shade to avoid scorch.
The ideal soil for Acers is slightly acidic, sandy loam, which is well drained.
Do not despair though, as long as your soil is not acidic, very wet or very dry, the Acer should adapt as long as you give it a helping hand.
Break up and condition heavy soil, add bulk to very light soil and mulch.
Bear in mind when planting that as the roots of Acers are shallow, they don’t like too much competition from others plants.
If planting in a container John Innes is ideal.
You may need to wrap containers in the winter to protect the roots from the cold.
All acers like a sheltered spot out of the wind, which can burn their leaves, and if very strong can lead to misshapen growth.
Very little feeding or pruning is required, with any feeding done in the spring and pruning done in the autumn when the plant is dormant.