Taking care of your Maple
Generally speaking with younger Maples you don't want to expose them to too many hours of direct sunlight. Maples and specifically our younger maples will prefer shaded areas for most of the day. Keeping hours of sunlight to mornings and shade during hot afternoons.
Keeping these younger maples in container or in pots is encouraged and your maples will love the idea for the first few years.
Japanese Maples do not enjoy wet feet and watering will change dependent upon the time of year. The finger tip test works well for maples. During bouts of extreme heat be mindful and watering your maples might have to be done more frequently. When your Maple is dormant you will hardly water and must be careful not to over-water if you do and cause more harm than good.
Soil for your Maple is just as important as any other aspect. Store bought potting mix, though cheap and convenient is not recommended as they usually contain many water retentive additives. Look for soil that provides more natural organic material such as pine bark and is free draining. I, along with most maple driven collectors mix our own soils. Mine consists of roughly 70% fine pine bark 10% Vermiculite 10% mushroom compost and 10% Sphagnum Moss. If you still have soggy soil then consider adding more vermiculite or something more course like sand.
Fertilizing maples is usually up in the air for maple enthusiasts, we here at JR's Fertilize sparingly. We encourage you if you plan on doing so, to read carefully about it. Generally speaking you want to fertilize with one that is low in Nitrogen and one that is slow releasing. Osmocote slow release fertilizer is what I use and has worked well. I also amend with Liquid Kelp concentrate and sometimes SuperThrive.
One issue I would like to point out that always seems to have people struggling with maples is Pseudomonas Syringae a bacteria that is in the soil as well as air. It takes advantage of maples that are under stress or sometimes for no reason at all. The first signs are easily seen by purple or black discoloration almost like bruising on the trunk or branches of Maples. It has a high probability to kill young and old maples alike. It is thought that the bacteria takes hold in especially wet and cold times.
Be mindful that if ordering trees during summer, some trees leafs tips will have some burning. Small maples kept in containers are prone to this and hard to prevent due to size. This damage is purely cosmetic and will be gone with new growth.
When ordering during colder temperatures please be aware that some, if not all trees will be dormant and have either leaves falling or no leaves at all this is natural and completely normal and needs to happen to have a healthy Maple.