Feeding and Watering Open Close
To help promote new growth give a feed with a slow release general-purpose fertiliser around the base of the Acer plant in spring. In the growing season an occasional feed with a liquid fertiliser is beneficial. Stop feeding in August as this will promote soft new growth that could be damaged in winter. It is more important to feed container planted Acers as the nutrients are soon depleted from the soil after a growing season. Acers suit container culture, especially if the soil conditions on site are not ideal. Spring applied mulch to the roots when the soil is damp can help to guard against extreme drought through the summer.
If planted into a container make sure the Acer is well watered during the growing season as the roots cannot search for water like they do in the ground, especially so if planted in terracotta as this bakes the soil in summer. Do not allow containerised trees to dry out in summer.
Planting Open Close
All cultivars of Acer palmatum prefer a sheltered spot away from cold northerly and easterly winds. A position of dappled shade is ideal for them, with no phase of direct sun as some can suffer sun scorch if the sun is too hot for them. The new growth is especially tender - and is produced very early in the year. Ideally soil should be sandy, slightly acidic and not prone to waterlogging in winter or extreme drought in summer. If planting in a container use crocs to aid drainage, a gritty loam compost such as John Innes No.2 and a bark mulch on top of the pot. Acers have quite shallow root systems so drought can be an acute problem for them in a hot dry summer.
Acers are very hardy plants. Biting winter winds are the main enemy of Acer palmatum cultivars. Watch out for the roots of containerised Acer plants becoming waterlogged.
Pruning and pest control Open Close
Generally Acers do not like or require pruning unless a plant is becoming unbalanced. The best time to prune if really necessary is late summer or early autumn.
Leaf scorch is the most common problem with delicate Acer palmatum cultivars. Sun scorch, wind scorch or drought in a container are all possible contributing factors. Generally pest free, aphids can be a problem on emerging shoots but vigilance/quick removal is the best remedy for this.