Fertilizing Maple Trees

Fertilizing maple trees depends on whether the tree is young or mature and displaying any signs of nutrient deficiency. Newly planted trees should not be fertilized as their energy should be spent developing a strong root system instead of sprouting new shoots and leaves. Wait a year after planting and apply a slow-release fertilizer in the spring. Mature trees, however, usually do not benefit from feeding and only require fertilizer if they display signs of nutrient deficiency.


How to Fertilize Maple

Maple trees prefer acidic soil. If the soil is not at the correct pH, it may affect how this tree absorbs nutrients from the surrounding soil. For example, a maple may struggle to use manganese or iron if the soil is too alkaline. Without adequate amounts of iron and manganese, maple will likely suffer from chlorosis, evident by yellowing and small leaves. Conducting a soil test before fertilizing is vital. As long as the soil pH is adequate, nitrogen will most likely be the most needed nutrient. Apply a slow-release fertilizer such as a 10-4-6 or a 6-3-2 in a granular or spike form. 

Best Time To Fertilize Maple

Fertilize maple trees during early autumn or early spring. Newly planted trees should only be lightly fed during the first year and then only annually until they mature. Mature trees should be fed only in cases of nutrient deficiencies.

Best Fertilizer For Maple

A good organic fertilizer to use is Espoma Organic Tree-Tone 6-3-2 Natural & Organic Fertilizer and Plant Food. As per Espoma’s label instructions, you can mix this fertilizer into the soil during the autumn after the leaves fall and then again in early spring. If not supporting organic practices, use Miracle-Gro® Tree & Shrub Plant Food Spikes. Per Miracle-Gro’s directions, plant spikes in soft, moistened soil during the fall and spring. The NPK ratio of these spikes is 15-5-10.

Maple Fertilizing Tips

  • Fertilize maple trees during early fall or spring.
  • Feed newly planted maple lightly or not at all during the first year.
  • Feed maple a slow-release fertilizer high in nitrogen.


-Always wear protective gloves and a face mask when handling chemical fertilizers.

-Closely follow all directions and storage guidelines that are on the fertilizer label.


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 Author Suellen Barnes - Published 4-27-2023