Japanese Red Maple Trees
Among the most pleasing garden ideas for your landscape are Japanese Red Maple trees. It’s no wonder that they’re on the most popular list for bringing color and character to any space you decide to plant them.
Japanese Red Maple trees pack a colorful punch to your landscape during spring and fall. Depending on the variety, some leaves are red in the spring and summer and turn gold or crimson in the fall. Their lacey leaves are delicate and prized for their decorative abilities.
If you’re thinking about adding Japanese Red Maple trees to your landscaping, there are some facts you should know that can help you decide where to place them and how to ensure they have a long and colorful life in your garden.
Some Helpful Facts About Japanese Red Maple Trees
It’s obvious that this woody plant is a native of Asian countries, including Japan, South and North Korea, southern Russia, China and Mongolia. A Japanese maple tree is often called a deciduous shrub because of its diminutive height of 12 to 15 feet and spread of 20 to 25 feet.
It can be a showy addition to your landscape and perfect to accent a garden setting. Japanese are famous for their bonsai art and love Japanese maple trees for their easy pliability and ornamental décor.
The scientific name for the Japanese Maple tree is Acer Palmatum and there are many varieties that offer a plethora of heights, colors, leaf shape, and fall foliage colors. Some varieties are:
• Bloodgood – This popular variety of the Japanese Red Maple sports a deep purple red leaf and grows to about 25 feet in height.
• Weeping Japanese Red Maple Tree – Graceful and gorgeous, this variety of Japanese maple can grow up to 25 feet and its branches arch to create a work of art.
• October Glory Maple Tree – This variety of Japanese Maple tree showcases red leaves in early fall. Until then, its leaves are a dazzling color of green.
• Butterfly – A Japanese Maple tree that only grows to 12 feet. Its sparkling leaves appear white at first, but turn to a deep burgundy during the fall.
There are many more varieties of Japanese Maple trees that are great garden ideas. You simply need to assess the area where you might want to place the tree. Some are best placed as a single specimen in a certain area where they can show off all of their attributes.
A Japanese Maple tree is a perfect choice to place beneath taller trees and add color to a green backdrop. Many choose to plant Japanese Red Maple trees near a house or in a certain portion of the garden that needs shade. The tree’s branch spread provides a gentle area of shade during hot summer months.
Japanese Maple trees may have multiple trunks joined near the ground and its branches are dome-like when it reaches maturity. Its beautifully shaped, delicate and lacey leaves can have five, seven or nine pointed lobes and its seeds must be stratified before germinating.
Although Asian countries have been cultivating the Japanese Red Maple trees for centuries, they only appeared in North America during the 1800s when botanist, Carl Thunberg brought back drawings of a tiny tree from Japan that he named “palmatum” for its “hand-shaped” appearance.
How to Grow a Japanese Maple Tree
Location, location, location is the mantra for choosing a place for your Japanese Red Maple tree. Most of the red-leafed maple trees prefer to live where there is enough shade to protect them from harsh summer sun and heat. But, be sure they have some direct sunlight for at least a small portion of the day.
The root system of the Japanese Red Maple tree doesn’t go deep into the soil, but stays within the upper levels, especially until it matures. They grow well around other plants and foliage.
When you’re ready to plant the Japanese Red Maple tree, here are some rules to remember:
1. Dig the hole so it’s slightly larger than the root system.
2. Mix some of the soil with an organic compost to help the roots grow faster.
3. When you insert the tree into the hole, be sure the “ground line” is level with the ground when adding soil to cover the roots.
The above instructions work with most types of soil, the exception being clay. If you happen to have clay soil, dig a shallow hole and place the tree so that the root system can be seen above the ground. Then, fill with soil up to the “ground line” of the plant. This keeps the tree from drying out.
Keep a weedless area around your Japanese Red Maple tree by mulching. This also prevents water loss when going through a dry period and protects the roots from freezing. Most Japanese Maple trees get enough water with average rainfall, but during summer heat and lack o rain, water the tree during the early morning hours or in the evening.
Pruning your Japanese Red Maple tree isn’t required unless there are dead branches or if you want to make an artistic statement by thinning out smaller branches to show off the main branches. Be sure to let your Japanese Maple tree establish itself in its new home for two to three years before pruning
Fertilize a Japanese Red Maple tree sparingly. They don’t require a great deal of nutrients and should progress nicely along with the other plants in your garden. If you do want to fertilize the tree, choose a complete and balanced fertilizer good for shrubs or trees and apply only once a year in early spring before the leaves come out.
When you choose a Japanese Red Maple tree, you’ll have chosen one of the most versatile and ornamental trees in the world. There’s a good reason why these trees take your breath away – they’re gorgeous – and make a stunning addition to any garden or landscape.