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The Resource Center

Japanese Maples

 

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Japanese Maples – Striking and Versatile

Sango Kaku‘Sango Kaku’ – Vigorous and upright, the twigs and branches of the Coral Bark Maple have a striking coral color prized for its winter interest. A nice tree for all seasons, the green leaves turn golden-yellow in autumn.

Bloodgood‘Bloodgood’ – Long the standard for red upright maples, this cultivar is vigorous and reliable. Expect a good-sized tree up to 25 feet and almost as wide. Deep red spring and summer foliage turns scarlet in the fall. The black-red bark makes an attractive show in winter.

Burgundy Lace‘Burgundy Lace’ – Hardy and trouble-free, this upright laceleaf has a deeply cut burgundy leaf that turns deep red in the fall. This tree stays relatively small and will grow nearly as wide as it is tall. Site away from hottest sun.

Oshio BeniOshio Beni’ – Start the year off right with orange-red spring foliage that holds its color all summer, finishing off with scarlet leaves in the fall. This vigorous tree has long, arching branches. In hotter areas, protect from direct afternoon sunlight.

Crimson Queen‘Crimson Queen’ – This red laceleaf cultivar will grace any lawn or accent a walkway with its pleasing weeping habit and its ability for holding color in hot weather. The burgundy leaves hold color all summer, then mature to a crimson. Resistant to heat.

Waterfall‘Waterfall’ – Staking will increase the height of this green laceleaf. Taller than it is wide, this cultivar has a layered, cascading habit. While its bright green leaves are larger than most laceleafs, it still maintains a feathery look. Able to handle full sun.

The Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) provides a striking effect in the general landscape. With over 300 cultivars to choose from, they take innumerable forms (dwarf, upright, mounding, rounded, weeping, spreading, and vase) and offer colors that reflect the rainbow. Attractive when planted in groves for a woodland effect, they are also used effectively in patios and entryways, in containers, and as small lawn trees. Although Japanese maples look delicate, they are hardy and durable trees, seldom damaged by disease and insect pests.

Laceleaf or Dissectum types are among the most familiar, with a weeping or mound-like habit. They provide a beautiful shrub-like appearance with drooping branches and delicate serrated leaves, giving them a lacy appearance. Standard upright cultivars are small ornamental trees. During the summer, many turn lime-colored or bronze, while others maintain a true red or green. In fall, the traditional yellows, golds, oranges and scarlets are enhanced by purples and blues.

 
Tips for Success

Tips for successfully growing Japanese maples in hot climates.

Japanese maples thrive in the cooler climates of the Northwest and Northern California. They can also be grown with success in other areas of California if given plenty of water and protected from hot, dry winds.

Full sun is acceptable in temperate areas, but most cultivars benefit from afternoon shade. Japanese maples share many of the growing requirements of the Azalea and they make a good match when planted together. The more finely cut the leaf, the greater the risk for leaf burn.

 

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