A small deciduous tree that has been in cultivation in Japan for a very long time. The fresh, delicate looking foliage is almost transparent in the sunlight and the overall shape of Japanese Maples make them an excellent choice as a specimen tree in a sheltered spot. Acer palmatum is the common form and is relatively fast growing, with bright green foliage in Spring and great Autumn colour.
Acer palmatum and its cultivars are slow growing and do not really require pruning, but will tolerate it if necessary - remove damaged, diseased or crossing branches and lower branches can be taken off to shape the canopy over time. Pruning is best done during the dormant months.
Japanese Maples all require shelter from wind to avoid wind scorch. The very fine-leaved cultivars need extra protection from wind and the sun. Despite being hardy, the fresh growth can be vulnerable to frost in the Spring. They all tolerate growing in a large container, some for a very long time.
- Cultivars with green or yellow foliage are best grown in dappled shade as full sun can scorch the leaves.
- Cultivars with purple or red foliage require some sun to fully develop their dark colour.
- Cultivars with variegated foliage require shade from the afternoon sun to prevent scorching.
Soil: Prefers well-drained, neutral to acidic soil
Position: Full sun, partial shade
Season of Interest: Attractive shape, Autumn colour
Hardiness: Fully hardy, though fresh spring growth can suffer from frost
Height: 20-30 ft (6-10m) Spread: 15-20ft (4-6m)