Water is a crucial element in plant development. Without it, no plant can survive on the other hand its excess can also have negative consequences.
Water the Japanese Maple when the soil in the root zone is 1-2 inches dry. Use at least 2 gallons of water when watering. This watering pattern should be followed for the first 2 years after planting the Japanese Maple.
This is a brief summary of watering needs and I will tell you more about it below. I also have a great article on my website called How to Grow Japanese Maples Successfully. Be sure to read it if you are interested in these amazing trees.
A Japanese maple needs watering until it is fully established. This is because the root system is not able to extract enough water from the ground in the first 1-2 years.
Before watering, determine how wet the soil around the roots is. You can do this with your fingers or use a moisture meter. If the soil is more than 1 inch dry, the maple needs to be watered.
Use about 2 gallons of water for watering. For maples over 7 feet tall, the amount of water can be 3 or more gallons.
After watering, the soil around the roots should be well moistened. Use a drip hose to get a more even distribution of water.
After two years, the Japanese Maple will be fully established where you planted it and will be able to draw the right amount of water from the surrounding soil on its own.
In the autumn, watering should be reduced as the ground is usually wet at this time of year and the maple is already losing its leaves.
Do not water the Japanese Maple in winter because it is dormant and does not need as much water as during the growing season.
The exception to this is if the winter is too dry and warm. If this is your case, check the soil once a month, and if it is more than 2 inches dry, water with 1-2 gallons of water.
Too much water
Japanese maples absolutely do not tolerate overwatering. That is why the soil in which they grow must be well-drained. In addition, there should not be any accumulations of water near the tree, such as from a roof, pond, stream, etc.
Also, watering on a schedule is a sure way to over-water the Japanese maple. If you water for example once a week without paying attention to the weather and the humidity of the soil, the maple roots will start to rot.
The first symptoms of overwatering and root rot are yellowing of the leaves. Also, signs of excessive moisture are brown spots on the leaves.
To avoid all of this, only water the Japanese Maple when the soil is more than 1 inch dry. Avoid watering in rainy weather.
Also, do not use an automatic irrigation system, even if it is equipped with an air moisture sensor. The air humidity can drop quickly while the soil can remain moist for a long time.
It is also not recommended to plant water-loving plants under the Japanese Maple, such as Petunias. These flowers need a lot of water, which is unnecessary for the maple.
Lack of water
There are situations where the Japanese Maple can experience a lack of water. This is just as dangerous as overwatering.
The first time this can happen is the first summer after planting or transplanting. If you planted in late spring, the maple may not even begin to root in the surrounding soil by summer.
As a result, the summer heat and bright sun can quickly deprive the tree of moisture. Dry winds contribute to this even more.
The second example of underwatering is when a Japanese Maple grows in full sun in the southern United States. Even if it is fully rooted in sunny and dry weather, it may not get enough water.
A symptom of dehydration can be drooping leaves. It is also common for the leaves to become crisp around the edge and turn brown.
To avoid all of this, constantly check the moisture content of the soil around the tree. As soon as the soil is an inch or a little more dry, water the maple immediately.
Also, be sure to mulch the root zone with a layer of organic mulch at least 2 inches thick. Avoid volcano mulching.