Photo found on Flickr, courtesy of Tina++.
The typical Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) grows fifteen-to-twenty-five feet high, with an equal or greater spread. In the landscape it is grown as a small, single stemmed tree or a large, multi-stemmed shrub. The many different cultivars available through nurseries and garden centers range from six-foot bushes to fifty-foot trees.
How to Grow Japanese Maples
Plant Japanese maples in moist, well-drained garden soil enriched with organic matter. Depending on the climate and the variety, the tree may benefit from some shade and wind protection to keep the leaves from scorching or drying out.
A light annual pruning will help maintain the tree’s size, shape, and general vigor.
Japanese Maple Pests and Diseases
Japanese maples are susceptible to anthracnose, especially in rainy weather. Leaf scorch, caused by draught, leaves brown margins on the leaves. Newly planted trees and trees with limited growing space are particularly vulnerable to leaf scorch. Japanese beetles, scale, and aphids may attack Japanese maples.
Different Japanese maples have different growing requirements and varying vulnerabilities. Growing trees that are known to thrive in your climate and conditions and attending to their needs are excellent ways to reduce insect and disease problems. Your local extension service or nursery can recommend the best Japanese maples for your location.
Japanese Maple Propagation
Depending on the cultivar, the best way to propagate Japanese maples is with softwood cuttings or by grafting.
Japanese Maple Cultivars
Of the many cultivars, following are some of the most popular:
·Bloodgood has an upright form with deeply indented purplish-red leaves that deepen in fall.
·Rubrum has large deep red leaves that turn green as they reach full size.
·Ozakazuki is one of the best Japanese maples for fall color. Its large light green leaves turn bright red in autumn.
·Sherwood Fame has deeply indented red leaves.
·Waterfall has graceful, deeply dissected leaves that give the effect of a waterfall.
·Versicolor has leaves with pink, white, and pale green variations.
Japanese Maples In the Home Landscape
Japanese maples have many uses in the home landscape. Their relatively small size makes them ideal as specimens or accent plants. They also mix well in a shrub border. They are at home in containers and are adaptable as bonsai.
Because of their graceful shapes and delicate leaves, Japanese maples make an artistic and elegant statement in any home garden.
Find the Right Cultivar
When selecting Japanese maples the home gardener should choose cultivars that are the size and shape for their landscape and that grow well in their climate. With so many to choose from, most gardeners can find just the right ones.
While we don’t endorse any nurseries, the ones listed below have good photos and descriptions of many of the different Japanese maples available in the U.S.