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Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum

Japanese Maple
G. Lumis

Leaves of Japanese Maple
G. Lumis

Twig of Japanese Maple
G. Lumis

Summary
Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf
Height: 6 to 25 feet 
Spread: 6 to 25 feet 
Shape: Spreading 

The variable foliage may be red or green with some being finely cut. Fall color varies from yellow to red to purple. 

Plant Needs
Zone: 5 to 8
Light: Partial shade to full sun 
Moisture: Moist, to dry 
Soil Type: Sandy or loam 
pH Range: 3.7 to 6.5 

Functions
Suggested uses for this plant include specimen plant.

Planting Notes
Performs best with rich, moist soil conditions in partially shaded locations. Plant in soil that is well-drained, yet moist.

Care
Keep soil moist during summer. During dry periods, water deeply by placing hose at base of plant and letting water trickle into the soil.  Mulch around base of tree in summer.
See Soil Improvement

Problems
Aphids are a problem on new plant growth. Chewing insects create occasional problems. 

Alternatives
Consult local sources, including historic or public gardens and arboreta, regarding cultivars and related species that grow well in your area.

Cultivars of ACER PALMATUM 
`Bloodgood' holds its red leaf color better than others. 
`Dissectum Atropurpureum' is compact and slow growing. It has finely cut leaves which are deep red. Leaf color fades in time.
`Osakazuki' (shown) has large green leaves that turn bright red in the fall. 

Comments
Japanese Maple is valued for its interesting foliage.  Most varieties are very slow growing and will rarely get over 10 feet tall; however, some varieties can grow up to 25 feet tall. Trees grown from seed lose their red leaf color in summer, which may be disappointing to the homeowner. 

This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation. Mary Miller, Project Director. Diane Relf, Content Specialist, Horticulture. Copyright 1989 by VCE.