I got a spring in my step as I visited the garden center
and saw it was loaded with new roses, as well as the
first trees and shrubs for the new year. Among the new
varieties I saw were some old-timers, too, like the
Bloodgood Japanese maple. Just six weeks ago it was one
of the most stunning trees in our garden — a testament
to its ability to thrive in the heat and humidity of
coastal zone 8b.
many in the Savannah Ga., area, this small maple has a
storied past that began overseas. The Bloodgood is
believed to be an old variety from The Netherlands that
was sold to Bloodgood Nurseries in New York. It is still
the most highly sought-after and respected Japanese
maple in the Deep South and treasured in much of the
country, as it is recommended from zones 5-8.
is brilliant in the spring with new dark bronze-red
leaves followed by exotic foliage throughout the summer
and a fall blaze of crimson-orange. It may hold the deep
red color and never turn green. The leaves are usually
five lobed, coupled with two smaller basal lobes.
attractive red fruit of the Bloodgood is called samara.
When shed by the tree, the winged fruit rotate like
helicopter blades and fly through the air.
Bloodgood Japanese maple prefers well-drained, moist,
slightly acidic soils with morning sun and afternoon
shade or areas of dappled light. Now is one of the best
times to plant a Japanese maple.
a 4-inch layer of fine pine bark and peat over the bed
and till to a depth of 10 inches. Dig the planting hole
three to five times as wide as the root ball but no
deeper. The top of the root ball should be even with the
soil profile. Set the tree in the hole and backfill to
two-thirds the depth. Tamp the soil down and water to
settle. Then add the remaining backfill, repeating the
process. After planting, water and apply a 3-inch layer
water during the summer and protection from wind goes a
long way in preventing scorching and keeping the leaves
looking their best. It also will help retain the red
in late winter with a light application of a slow
release 12-6-6 or 8-8-8 fertilizer and broadcast evenly
under the canopy. If grown in a tub, use time-released
granules or water-soluble fertilizer in early spring and
again in early summer. Maintain moisture and mulch
through the summer.
Bloodgood Japanese maple is a beautiful multi-stemmed
tree with a fine-textured appearance. To get this
multi-stemmed look and graceful appearance, selectively
prune during its early years of establishment.
is an upright grower, reaching 15 feet in height,
occasionally 20 feet, making it ideal for the urban
home. To me it is the ultimate accent or focal point for
a garden. They deserve to be seen and admired. In our
fall display it was showing out in partnership with
Camellia sasanquas and an almost white leafed ornamental
the spring garden, however, you want to plant yours
where it will be most at home with azaleas,
rhododendrons and woodland phlox. The Bloodgood also
excels in a large container on a patio or deck and would
be considered the signature plant for the Oriental-style
know it was just Christmas, and certainly our weather
pattern seems to be the ultimate in unpredictability,
but planting season is coming and faster than you think.
Look and see where you can fit in one of the most
exquisite Japanese maples of all time, the award winning