How to Grow Japanese Maples

Acer palmatum and Other Species

japanese maple collage

Japanese Maples are small to mid-sized deciduous trees grown for their architectural branching, striking foliage and amazing fall colours. Also known as Acer palmatum, these plants are excellent in both gardens and pots. Several hundred varieties of Japanese Maples are available but they can be loosely grouped into 4 categories: upright or weeping, and red or green coloured foliage. The leaves can also be dissected or more maple-leaf shaped.

Japanese Maple Varieties

There are hundreds if not thousands of Japanese Maple varieties. A full list of the ones we regularly carry is available in our Japanese Maple catalog. Some truly unique and specimen varieties include:

'Waterfall' - weeping green variety with finely dissected leaves
'Red Dragon' - mounding variety with red dissected leaves
'Sango Kaku' - upright variety with coral red bark
'Bloodgood' - classic upright variety with reddish-burgundy foliage
'Shishigashira' - Lions Head Maple, tiny green crinkled leaves - true specimen
'Osakazuki' - classic green variety with the most amazing fall colour
'Ukigumo' - small leaved upright variety with white, green and pink leaves
'Autumn Moon' - a smaller golden yellow leaved variety, best in part shade (acer shirasawanum)
'Shaina' - a small upright variety with reddish leaves. Excellent in containers

Exposure / Light

Japanese Maples are woodland plants. That is they prefer part sun to part shade in areas that are sheltered from the harsh sun or winter cold. An area near a large tree is perfect. While most varieties will tolerate full sun, it is imperative that they not be allowed to dry out.

Soil / Moisture

Japanese Maples are shallow rooted and prefer moist, but well drained soils. Do not allow them to dry out or sit in puddles of water. Adding a 2-3 inch layer of mulch is a great way of protecting the roots and moderating the soil moisture and temperature.

Fertilizing Japanese Maples

Japanese Maples are light feeders and generally do not require additional fertilizer. When planting, add Bone Meal into the hole to encourage root growth. If you do choose to fertililze, apply a small amount of all-purpose fertilizer in early spring.

Pruning Japanese Maples

Much of the natural beauty of a Japanese Maple comes from its attractive architectural branching. We generally recommend a maintenance pruning only. That is, only prune away dead, damaged or diseased branches or those that are crossing, rubbing, or generally growing in the wrong direction. Prune slowly and carefully in order to maintain an attractive branching habit. Prune Japanese Maples in late winter or early spring when they are still dormant.

If you have questions about Japanese Maples, please do not hesitate to call Arts Nursery at 604.882.1201 or visit our Japanese Maple catalog to see our selection. We stock hundreds of Japanese Maple trees year round and offer all sizes, shaped and varieties.

Author: Arts Nursery Ltd Source: Arts Nursery Ltd

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Surrey, BC, Canada,
V4N 3W8

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