Japanese maples have a layered mushroom shape.
I write this another polar vortex or its close cousin
has much of the country in the cross-hairs so to speak.
If you are like me these are the occasions for a little
garden daydreaming to places where the azaleas,
rhododendrons, redbuds and dogwoods bloom like a
priceless painting and where the exotic and ancient
twisted Japanese maple is the focal point.
maples are most worthy of focal point status. If you donít
believe me, visit the Japanese maple collection at the
Missouri Botanical Garden. Iíll admit I have
stood literally mesmerized, in front of picturesque
specimen in Portland, Ore. Gaze upon an old arching
laceleaf Japanese maple, and a sense of awe and
admiration fills your spirit.
Japanese maple is known botanically as acer palmatum,
and most nurserymen usually classify them in two groups:
non-dissected leafed and dissected-type leaves. In
reality Japanese maples can be grouped by three types:
uprights, laceleafs and bush-dwarf types.
the uprights are the linearilobums with long, narrow
lobes on each leaf. The dissectums are laceleafs with
pinnately dissected leaves. The growth habit of the
laceleaf types is usually cascading or weeping with a
mushroom shape. The bush-dwarf group includes maples
that are slower-growing and bushy.
cultivars in the non-dissected group are Bloodgood, Oshu
beni and Senaki. Weíve just planted the award winning
Glowing Embers in our new shade garden. While I treasure
these selections it is the laceleaf or dissected
varieties that "cause the pause," so to speak,
and brings out the cameras.
they are cold hardy to 10 to 20 below zero, it is heat
tolerance at the top of citieria in the South. One
champion that has stood the test of time is Tamukeyama,
which dates back to 1710. It performs better than most
selections in sweltering heat, and humidity that you
might find in places like Tallahassee and Savannah, Ga.
It also is one of the more vigorous varieties, reaching
6 to 8 feet tall after 10 years.
Queen is another known for its heat tolerance and
ability to retain its deep red color during the summer.
It will reach 4 to 5 feet tall after 10 years. That
seems speedy compared to the popular Red Filigree Lace
that only reaches 3 to 4 feet tall after 10 years. This
is a great example of why Japanese maples are popular
tub or container plants, giving an exotic Bonsai look.
addition to these itís getting much easier to find
both Inaba Shidare and Red Dragon selections, which are
highly rated and reach about the same height as Crimson
Queen. The most popular green-leafed selection is Seiryu,
which has dissected leaves and an upright habit reaching
close to 12 feet after a decade.
best-looking Japanese maples you find throughout the
South will have a few things in common: high filtered
light, acidic fertile well-drained soil, a good layer of
mulch and some protection from strong winds. Even though
I said South, this is a good agenda for most of the
maples can be an enduring part of your landscape. I have
had the opportunity to watch a friendís for 20 years.
As yours grows and twists, and starts to develop that
special character, you will be so thrilled you planted
them. These maples will have special meaning for you,
and your children and grandchildren, who will mature
along with the trees.
your landscape and see where you might have a place for
at least one of these exquisite maples. We are just a
few months away from one of our best planting