Morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal for Japanese Maple trees. Filtered sunlight is best. If you are in the Upper or Middle South, full sun. If your site has poor drainage, improve your soil, create a raised bed, or use a large pot. Consider the mature size of trees you like, and choose one to fit your needs.
Dig a hole three times as wide as the root-ball and slightly shallower. Place the tree in the hole. The top of the root-ball should be a little higher than the surrounding soil (as you would plant an azalea). Add a small amount of slow-release fertilizer to your soil. Fill in around root-ball with the surrounding soil, firm, and water well.
Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch (pine straw or finely chopped leaves) to retain moisture and keep the soil temperature even. Keep the plant slightly moist for the first year as it takes root. A drip system for watering works best. Remember, a little too dry is better than a little too wet.