Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum


This small, graceful maple comes in many varieties: upright, spreading, or weeping. Leaves may be green or maroon in summer and turn yellow, orange, or red in fall. While there are many cultivars of Japanese Maples, the Bloodgood variety with its maroon leaves does better in our summer heat than green-leafed varieties. The thread-leaf varieties are more often damaged by heat in our area.


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. Trees planted in full afternoon sun, especially those near paving and buildings that reflect heat, will show burnt and dead leaves in the summer, as Japanese Maples cannot move water to the leaves fast enough to keep them hydrated. In addition to looking unattractive, dead and burnt leaves can leave the tree susceptible to pests and diseases. Plant your Japanese Maple on the east side of the house where it can stay cool in the afternoon and shade your house in the morning.

Japanese Maple

Height: 15 to 20 feet
Spread: 15 to 20 feet
Growth Rate: moderate; slow if the environment is not ideal

Irrigation needed: medium water
Fall Color: yellow, orange or red, often bright
Flowers:  inconspicuous
Seeds/Fruit: winged seed 1 inch long

Planting Distances
Front of green utility box: 8 feet
Building, paving, swimming pool: 6 feet
Fence, underground utilities: 3 feet
OK to plant under high voltage lines

Fall Color
Bloodgood Variety