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If the maple suffers frost damage, relocation, pruning, or protective measures may make sense. We show how to do it.

In a nutshell

  • Frost damage can be avoided by appropriate protection
  • a change of location can help
  • Hibernation in the house can be useful
  • Cutting back to healthy wood is helpful
  • blazing winter sun is harmful

Selection of the variety

Prevention is always better than cure. It therefore makes sense to choose a variety that is as hardy as possible. This applies at least if the maple is to be planted in the bed. Small varieties that grow slowly are recommended. These include, among others:

fan maple
  • Japanese maple - Acer palmatum
  • Golden Maple - Acer shirasawanum
  • Japanese Maple - Acer japonicum

Tip: The compact-growing varieties are also ideal in regions with very harsh winters, as they can be easily grown in pots and are therefore easier to protect over the winter.


Prevention also includes choosing the right location for the plant. This should meet the following requirements:

  • sheltered from the wind
  • no blazing sun, especially in winter
  • Protection against heavy rain and waterlogging

A change of location is always advisable to protect the maple and allow it to regenerate if the following points apply:

  • the plant is particularly young or old
  • Frost damage occurs again and again
  • the crop is weakened by disease or pests

Tip: It is ideal to place the plants to the east or west and close to larger plants or walls. This gives them the necessary protection and makes them safer even in winter.

Open field or container culture

Depending on the variety and the local conditions, it may make more sense to cultivate the plant in a bucket. Tub culture has some advantages. Below:

  • faster earth change possible
  • simple winter protection
  • Watering and fertilizing can be very targeted

Possible disadvantages, however, are that the care is a bit more complex and the tub culture is only suitable for small varieties. If the plant is planted directly outdoors, it can slowly get used to cooler temperatures in the first few years. However, care should then be taken to ensure that the plant is given sufficient protection in winter.

winter protection

A good way to prevent frost damage to the maple is to give the plant appropriate protection in winter. This is especially important if any of the following factors apply:

  • very young plants
  • old growth
  • weakened maple
  • Location is exposed
  • Winter is particularly cold
  • existing frost damage

The winter protection not only serves as a preventive measure, but can also be applied afterwards to avoid further frost damage. It should consist of two parts. On the one hand, the root disc must be covered. Applying a layer of natural materials is advisable for this. Are suitable:

  • brushwood
  • bark mulch
  • straw
The use of brushwood is recommended for wintering outdoors.

To avoid frost damage from the blazing winter sun, the maple is protected by a fleece hood. However, this should not be on the plant every day, because light is necessary for the plants. However, it is necessary at very low temperatures and bright sunshine.

Tip: If the blazing winter sun cannot be avoided, an awning or parasol can also be used as protection for evergreen maple varieties. This eliminates the need to repeatedly cover and cover the plant.

Hibernation in the house

Overwintering indoors is particularly easy to prevent further frost-related damage. The maple should be frost-free but bright. A minimum of maintenance is also required. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely. Light watering when necessary should therefore not be forgotten.
However, waterlogging is also dangerous. The soil should only be slightly damp but not completely soaked with water. Fertilization should be stopped in late summer.
If the plant needs to be saved because it has already been damaged by low temperatures, bringing it indoors can also make sense. This allows the plant to recover faster and further damage is avoided.


In order to save the maple after frost damage, the damaged parts of the plant must be removed. Pruning in early spring prevents the branches and leaves from rotting or serving as entry points for disease germs. The following guide shows how to do this:

  • Prepare the cutting tool: The secateurs should always be clean. It is ideal to disinfect the blades. In addition, the blades must be sharp. Otherwise, the branches will be crushed and not cut smoothly. This can encourage the penetration of germs and parasites.
  • Plan waste correctly: The affected parts should be cut off so far that the clippings reach into the healthy wood. However, this is not always easy to recognize. However, it can be determined quickly by checking the elasticity and looking at the cut surface. Healthy, living branches are elastic and can therefore be easily bent.
  • Follow-up care: After cutting, the cut surfaces should be able to dry well. It is therefore important that the measure is carried out on a dry day. In addition, coordinated fertilizing and watering makes sense. This strengthens the plant and allows it to regenerate.

time and care

If parts of the plant are frozen due to frost, the plant can often regenerate itself after pruning. The only important thing is that they are sufficiently watered and fertilized. It can take several weeks for new shoots to appear. So it is important to be patient here.
If necessary, a new cut must be made if sections of the branches do not recover or die later due to frost damage.

frequently asked Questions

When is a change of location advisable?

If the plant repeatedly shows frost damage or growth seems delayed, changing the location can make sense and protect the plant. However, a change of location is also possible in winter to give the plant the opportunity to regenerate.

How can you recognize healthy wood?

Pruning to save the maple can be done down to the sound wood. As a test, the bark can be scraped off lightly with a fingernail in advance or branches can be cut off piece by piece until the cut surface is green at least at the edge.

Does the maple have to be watered in winter?

If the soil is very dry, it should also be watered in winter. Watering is done from below and should be carried out on frost-free days. Otherwise, the risk of damage from sub-zero temperatures is increased.

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