Japanese Maple - The Quick Whats, Whys and Hows
“Of all the possible trees out there in the world, why pick Japanese Maple?” - you probably ask yourself. Well, apart from its undeniable magnificence, it also requires little care and it’s pretty easy to look after.
Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum, japanese: irohamomiji) is a treelike plant species native to Japan, South and North Korea, southeast Russia and eastern Mongolia. Its exceptional beauty comes from the variety of leaf colours - crimson red, gold yellow, orange and green.
Different species come in different sizes, some of them small enough to be grown in little containers just like bonsai. Japanese Maple is a perennial shade-loving understory plant that reaches heights of 6 up to 14 m. It is often shaped like a hemisphere and can have multiple trunks joining close to the ground.
The leaves are 4-12 cm long and wide, palmately lobed with five, seven, or nine acutely pointed lobes. Acer palmatum gives birth to flowers with purple or red sepals and five white petals. The fruit is a pair of two winged samaras each 2-3 cm long with a 7 mm seed.
The 5 Main Reasons to Grow Japanese Maple
- Beauty, Variety and Versatility
As mentioned above there are many types of Acer Palmatum that come in different colours, shapes and sizes. Which means it gives you the opportunity to choose the specimen in accord with your preferences, the climate where you live in and garden capacity and convenience. Either way Japanese Maple’s majestic appeal will quickly enchant everyone who looks at it.
The cost depends on how much money you are willing to spend on a Japanese Maple, its condition, type, size and age. Prices vary somewhere between £25 for a small specimen to £500 or maybe even more for a grown tree. Make sure you do a deep research before you buy the perfect plant.
Japanese Maples pride themselves as not so demanding treelike plants. This is also a part of their overall gracefulness. Generally these plants are not prone to diseases and it’s almost impossible to be infested by aphis.
This is a brief overview of the perfect conditions to grow Japanese Maple:
- Protection from strong wind
- Dappled or afternoon shade
- Moist soil, well-drained
- Some tolerate sun, other prefer shade
Tips to Grow
1. Wind Protection
Japanese Maple’s leaves are very fragile and dry out fast when exposed to continuously strong winds. Carefully select a spot that can block them and you should be fine. If needed, build a shelter or move the plant to safety if you grow it in a pot.
2. Sun - Shade
To get the desired foliage colour the plant needs a bit of sun. However the amounts of light it gets can vary. If the leaves scorch this means it’s overexposed. On the other hand getting too much shade might hurt it too. Plant or put the tree in a location that will get morning sunlight and afternoon shade.
Always water the tree at the roots with care. Avoid sprinkling on the leaves. A droplet can magnify sunlight and therefore leave scorched marks on your leaves.
4. Protection From Cold
By now you know Japanese Maples are sensitive to certain weather conditions. From cold or frosty weather, expert gardeners in London advice to cover the tree in burlap. It might have to stay like this until spring or even after. The tree tends to leaf out in early spring and it can still suffer from cold snap.
The best time to prune a maple is between mid-July and August. This is the period when sap won't run from cuts and won’t damage the tree. For thorough pruning it is best to be done once every three years. Also do not be afraid to dig up and move Japanese Maple in a year or two.