Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Japanese Maple Plant Profile

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) is a small tree with beautiful foliage colors. There are hundreds of Japanese Maple varieties from dwarf forms to larger landscape specimens. This elegant and graceful tree offers year-round interest with its sculptural branch forms and pretty bark.

The differences in varieties are amazing with some Japanese Maple trees having leaves of red and purple hues to greens and yellows and even variegated forms. These can turn brilliant colors in the autumn and are show-stoppers in the garden.  They are also big differences in the leaf shapes, from highly dissected and almost lacy foliage to the larger, more palm-like ones.

Japanese Maple trees are generally hardy from zone 5 to 8. They can be container grown or planted in the ground. They prefer locations with bright light, though it is best to site them away from direct afternoon sun.

Fall is the ideal time to plant them. They should be placed out of strong, prevailing winds and protected from late spring frosts. Plant them in soil that is well-draining and slightly acidic. Keep them well-watered and add organic compost as mulch around their root zone, but do not let the mulch touch the trunk.

Generally, the trees need little care. If you need to remove a branch, the best time to prune them is in mid-summer. You should also remove any suckers that emerge below the tree’s graft point.

Japanese Maple: You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Audio and Text by Kathy Jentz
Video by Charlotte Crook and Melena Dinenna

Editing by Melinda Thompson


Filmed at the US National Arboretum’s Asian Collection.


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