How to Protect Japanese Maples in the Winter


During the first few years of their lives, Japanese Maples are fragile and sensitive to cold weather, frosts and wind. Protecting a Japanese Maple in the winter will help it grow healthier and taller in the summer. The best way to do this is by "screening" or "wrapping" the tree. This involves wrapping the young Japanese Maple in burlap to help it mature and to allow the developing branches to become sturdy enough to withstand the winter on its own.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Hose or Watering Can
  • Mulch
  • Antidessicants
  • Stakes for ground
  • Burlap material

Winterizing Japanese Maples

  • Pluck off any dead leaves on the branches.

  • Water the roots thoroughly before the first frost to ensure that the leaf buds do not dry out during the winter.

  • Cover the base of the Japanese Maple with a thick layer of organic mulch such as straw, bark, shredded leaves or composted manure to protect it from the cold.

  • Apply Antidesiccants, a compound applied to reduce dehydration and prevent drying. Although not universally accepted, this option does generally eliminate the need for wrapping.

  • Wrap the tree with a burlap shroud or burlap screen. There are two ways to do this. For very new trees, wrap the burlap from the base of the truck to the second or third branch. Alternatively, put stakes in the ground around the Japanese Maple, just at the end of the branches. Wrap the burlap around these stakes to erect a fabric windscreen, which will protect the tree from inclement weather.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to water and wrap the Japanese Maple before the first frost.
  • Use safety precautions when applying Antidessicants by wearing gloves and goggles to protect both skin and eyes.

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