This small, graceful maple forms a rounded crown with delicate leaves. It is fairly slow growing and requires medium water and afternoon shade to stay healthy and vigorous. Trees planted in full afternoon sun, especially if near paving and buildings that reflect heat, will show burnt and dead leaves in the summer. This is because the Japanese Maples cannot move water to the leaves fast enough when it’s hot to keep them hydrated. Dead, burnt looking leaves are not attractive and can leave the tree susceptible to pests and diseases. On the other hand, a Japanese Maple planted in a situation where it can get shade in the afternoon, will reward you by growing into a beautiful, small tree.
There are many cultivars, the Bloodgood variety has maroon leaves and does better in our summer heat than green leaf varieties. It has a fairly upright growth pattern. Thread-leaf varieties generally struggle in our hot climate and show more leaf burn.
Like many maples, the Japanese Maple is a bit pickier in its growing environment than most trees. It wants medium water, good drainage, mulch and afternoon shade to stay healthy. You might consider planting one on the east side of the house where it can stay cool in the afternoon and still shade your house in the morning.
Japanese Maples turn yellow or orange in the fall.
Prefers good drainage.
Height: 15-20 feet
Spread: 15-20 feet
Growth Rate: Moderate, slow if not in its ideal environment
Irrigation needed: medium
Fall Color: yellow or orange, often bright
Fruit: Winged seed 1 in. long
Foundation: 6 feet
Drives/Patios: 6 feet
Fence: 3 feet
Can you plant under power lines: yes