Place the Japanese maple into the center of the new container with the roots fanned out at the bottom. Begin by digging a trench around the root ball. Choose one that will allow the tree's root system to grow for two to three years before moving up in size. The most important thing when choosing a container to grow your Japanese maple in is size. The rule of thumb is 12″ of root ball per 1″ of tree caliper. Plant Height Root Ball Size Weight 6-7' 24" 400 7-8' 28 650 8-10' 34" 850 10-12' 38" 1200 12-14' 44" 1500 14-16' 52" 2500 16-18' 60" 3000 18-20' 72" 6000 Root Ball Size & Weight Information Plants sold by caliper Plants sold by height. Planting: Start by selecting an area with well-drained soil and the proper sunlight for your Maple.In hotter climates, you'll want to select an area with some afternoon shade for your Japanese Maple. As long as your tree is dormant, cutting the roots will not damage your Japanese maple. 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