Q Where should I plant a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)?
A Choose a sheltered spot with shade during the middle of the day - this will help avoid problems with frazzled leaves. Although some acers need acidic soil, Japanese maples can be grown in alkaline or neutral soil.
Plant in well-prepared soil in a hole that's the depth of the pot but slightly wider. Hammer in a tree stake at a 45-degree angle next to the trunk and secure the trunk to the stake with a tree tie.
Water then mulch around the plant with 5-8cm of well-rotted organic matter, such as garden compost, keeping it away from the trunk.
Which? Gardening magazine rated 25 commonly available varieties of Japanese maples to find the best for our gardens. To discover our recommendations, subscribe online to Which? Gardening or call 029 2267 0000.
Caption: Japanese maples make stunning garden trees, especially in the autumn
Q How should I care for my Japanese maple?
A Plants in the ground shouldn't need feeding. Add a 5-8cm deep mulch of organic matter, such as compost, each spring.
Water during prolonged spells of dry weather to help avoid the leaves frazzling. No routine pruning should be needed. If you want to prune to control the size of the tree or remove any dead wood, do this between leaf fall and the end of December when the plant is completely dormant - pruning after this can lead to problems with the sap bleeding.
Caption: Japanese maples only need minimal pruning