Growing Japanese Maples

This extract has been taken from “Northern California Gardening” by “Katherine Grace Endicott”. Growing Japanese maples, needs a location with full sun or partial shade and it flourishes in any well-drained soil except highly alkaline soil. “Tree Trimming Stockton CA” renders you with important info on these maples.

Many trees are praised by gardeners but few as the Japanese maple. It is prized, as a great flowering shrub is valued, and is given an honoured placed in the garden. Its glory is the uncommon grace of its leaves and their startling colors, particularly in autumn.

Gardeners enjoying the majesty of Japanese maple now cloaked in dazzling red leaves will be amazed to learn that Japanese maple were probably first acquired through the persistence of American warships. Had it not been for the American insistence that Japan open up its borders to foreign trade, the red Japanese maple might have continued to grow in isolation on the island of Honshu. Certainly it seems the Japanese would have wanted it that way.

Growing Japanese Maples
Growing Japanese Maples

Shortly after the pilgrims settled at Plymouth, the Japanese constructed a tiny man-made island called Dejima. It might as well have been called Alcatraz, for all foreigners were required to reside in its prison like confines. Naturally this severely limited trade, not to mention botanical exchange.

For the next two hundred years the only contact with Japan came through the Dutch East India Company, which used Deshima as a base for its long and lucrative spice voyages. Our limited Knowledge of Japanese plants came from botanical enthusiasts, usually physicians, stationed by the Dutch on Deshima. Everything changed in 1854 with commodore per

Many trees are praised by gardeners but few as the Japanese maple. It is prized, as a great flowering shrub is valued, and is given an honoured placed in the garden. Its glory is the uncommon grace of its leaves and their startling colors, particularly in autumn.

Gardeners enjoying the majesty of Japanese maple now cloaked in dazzling red leaves will be amazed to learn that Japanese maple were probably first acquired through the persistence of American warships. Had it not been for the American insistence that Japan open up its borders to foreign trade, the red Japanese maple might have continued to grow in isolation on the island of Honshu. Certainly it seems the Japanese would have wanted it that way.

Shortly after the pilgrims settled at Plymouth, the Japanese constructed a tiny man-made island called Deshima. It might as well have been called Alcatraz, for all foreigners were required to reside in its prison like confines. Naturally this severely limited trade, not to mention botanical exchange.

For the next two hundred years the only contact with Japan came through the Dutch East India Company, which used Deshima as a base for its long and lucrative spice voyages. Our limited Knowledge of Japanese plants came from botanical enthusiasts, usually physicians, stationed by the Dutch on Deshima. Everything changed in 1854 with commodore perry and his gunboat diplomacy, which persuaded the Japanese to sign a trade treaty.

Botanists set out on notably successful plant excursions. One of the most prominent plant hunters was E.H. Wilson, who collected for the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. Wilson made a special trip to sakamoto off the coast of Honshu where he took several saplings of a Japanese red maple (Acer pycnanthum). This maple is closely related to the abundantly distributed American red maple (Acer rubrum), but the Japanese red maple was then a rare special restricted to a small region of central Honshu.

Now of course there is a wide variety of Japanese maple for the American gardener to choose from including some formerly rare varieties more that eighty varieties of Japanese maple are green American nurseries and arboretums. Many of them are choice indeed.

Some authorities recommend buying only grafted, named varieties of Japanese maple because they should come to true the characteristics of the named variety. Other authorities recommend seedling because they are hardier faster growing and more drought tolerant.

Growing Japanese Maples - Acer Palmatum
Growing Japanese Maples – Acer Palmatum

Japanese maple Growing Simplified

Botanical name: Acer Palmatum.

Common name: Japanese maple.

Site preference: Debatable. Probably filtered light has the edge. However, red-leaved or green-leaved varieties color best in full sun variegated and finely cut leaved varieties will suffer from sunburn unless planting Japanese maple where the late winter sun would cause them to leaf out early.

Soil conditions: Best in rich, well-drained soil, so add humus and compost.

Water: Flood them occasionally to leach out salts, which cause curling brown leaf edges.

Nutrients: Nitrogen fertilizer should be applied after the leaves appear in the spring and again early fall. A slow- release fertilizer is good for container plants.

Problems: Verticillium wilt (also known as die back) is a serious problem. This soil- borne fungus wilts and discolors leaves, turning them yellow, and can kill maple. Prune away dead branches and clean the pruning shears afterward to prevent spreading the disease.

Special care: prune to shape.

Japanese maple recommendations

The names are confusion because growing use different common name and often do not label them with botanical names. My personal favourite is often labelled as a ‘Thread leaf’ Japanese maple. Its botanical name is probably Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’. It may also be called ‘Ever Red ‘(Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum Atropurpureum’). It has wonderful, delicate, lacy foliage colored a deep purple red in spring and taking on a slight green ting during the summer. Left un-pruned, it will develop slowly into a small, graceful dome shape shrub. At five yeas it is only about three feet tall. At twenty years, it is only about six feet tall, so it is an excellent plant.

  1. Lace leaf maple (‘Dissectum Viridis’) has a charming dome shape and bright green summer leaves.
  2. ‘Blood good’ is red in the spring and turns bright crimson in the fall. I have noticed a number of landscape architects using it in estate gardens in the Napa Valley.
  3. ‘Maiku Jaku’ has spectacular burgundy fall foliage.
  4. The coral bark maple ‘Sango Kaku’ (also known as ‘Senkaki’) has colored bark with pale yellow spring leaves that turn green and then gold in fall.

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