Japanese Maple - 'Acer palmatum'The Japanese Maple was first discovered in 1783 and introcuduced to the West in 1820. After nearly 80 years of obscurity, the Japanese Maple became popular and began to spread across the world. Growing wild within, or on the edge of, mixed broad-leaved woodlands, today there are hundreds of cultivars of Japanese Maple used for a variety of landscape purposes from foundation to specimen planting across the world. With grey-brown, smooth bark and 5 to 9 lobed leaves, Japanese Maples have excellent red and gold fall color and are extremely varied in their habit and size across various cultivars.
||Japanese Maple, Smooth Japanese Maple|
|Popular Non-Dissected Varieties:
||Atropurpureum, Bloodgood, Burgandy Lace, Emperor One, Moonfire, Oshio beni, Ozakazuki, Sango Kaku, Scolopendrifolium, Scolopendrifolium Rubrum|
|Popular Dissected Varieties:
||Dissectum Atropurpureum, Crimson Queen, Ever Red, Filigree, Garnet, Ornatum, Red Filigree Lace, Tamukeyama, Viridis, Waterfall|
||Deciduous Ornamental Tree|
||Leaves are opposite, simple, 2 to 5 inches long, deeply 5 to 7 to 9 lobed, lobes being lance-ovate to lance-oblong in shape, acuminate, subcordate doubly serrate; color varies depending on cultivar, but species is green in summer, becoming yellow, bronze, purple or red in the fal; many of the var. atropurpureum types turn a magnificant red in fall; leaves hold late and are often present into November.|
||15 to 25 feet in height, spread equal to or greater than height; great variation in this species due to large number of cultivars which are common in commerce; many of the dissectum types only reach 6 to 8 feet and become quite mound-like in shape; the species can reach 40 to 50 feet in the wild state; magnificent specimens along the east coast from Boston to Washington that approach 40 to 50 feet.|
||Depending on cultivar, zones 5 and 6 to 8; does quite will in Zone 8 and provides excellent fall color in November. For an idea of your plant zone please visit the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.|
||Species tends towards a rounded to broad-rounded character, often the branches assume a layered effect similar to Flowering Dogwood; the plant can be grown as a single-stemmed small tree or large multi-stemmed shrub; perhaps the greatest ornamental attributes are exposed in the latter situation.|
||Over many years a slow grower but in youth will tend toward the medium rate; about 10 to 15 feet over a 10 year period.|
||Small, red to purple, May to June, borne in stalked umbels (possibly corymbs), quite attractive on close inspection.|
|Diseases & Insects:
||Actually surprisingly few; have had a real problem with rooted cuttings in plastic houses that leafed out early. The high humidity promoted Botrytis infection which literally killed 80 fine specimens in about 3 days.|
||Probably one of the most flexible maple species as far as landscape uses; magnificent specimen, accent plant, shrub border, grouping, bonsai; definitely lends an artistic and aristocratic touch; considering the tremendous heat in the south I am amazed at the number of choice specimens; even in full sun the plant does reasonable well; the purple leaf forms appear to lose the pronounced color earlier in the growing season.|
||Transplanted balled and burlapped or as a container plant into moist, high organic matter, well drained soil. Tolerant of most soil types.|
||Water regularly after initial planting and prune in winter or early spring as necessary to maintain form and desired shape.|
||Fertilize an area three times the canopy spread of the tree 1 to 2 times a year with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Only fertilize an established tree.
||Dig a hole three times the diameter of the root system, with a depth no deeper than the original soil line on trunk. Break up the soil to the finest consistency possible. Place plant in hole and fill, compacting the fill dirt. Water the plant heavily to seal soil around the roots and remove air pockets. Water well, and remember to water regularly until they have started to grow.