Japanese Maple Tree Care & Maintenance. The Perfect Tree for Your Garden
The Japanese maple tree (Acer palmatum) is a species of deciduous tree native to Japan, Korea, and parts of China that can be found growing wild in many areas. It is often grown as an ornamental tree because it has beautiful leaves and fantastic fall colors. It has been grown in Japan for hundreds of years, and there are records of this going back to the 9th century AD.
Name: Japanese Maple
Botanical: Acer Palmatum
Plant Variety: Tree
Mature Size: 10-25 ft. Grows tall and wide
Sun Exposure: Partial Sunlight
Bloom Period: Spring
Flower Color: Red, Purple
Soil Type: Moist, well-drained Soil
Soil pH: Acidic Soil
Hardiness Zones: USDA Zones 5–9.
Native Area: Asia Region
Japanese gardeners brought this tree to Japan in the late 17th century to make the landscape more colorful. Before this time, it was primarily grown as an ornamental plant or for medicinal use. In the 19th century, this shrub became popular in Europe. Its interesting shape and leaves made it a favorite among gardeners.
This slow-growing tree can reach heights of up to 25 feet if given enough space. The delicate, lacy leaves are typically 2–5 inches long and come in shades of green, red, purple, orange, or yellow, depending on the variety. It usually blooms in spring with small flowers ranging from white to pink or red.
These plants are very popular in landscaping due to their versatility and aesthetic beauty. They can be grown as single specimens or grouped with other trees and plants to form a stunning landscape design. They also make great additions to bonsai collections.
When planting, choosing a spot that gets shade and is protected from strong winds is essential. The soil should drain well but always be moist. If you need to, you can put irrigation systems or mulch around the tree’s root zone to help keep water in when it’s dry. Additionally, prune regularly throughout the year to keep it healthy and encourage new growth.
The Green Japanese Maple tree varieties
A green Japanese Maple tree (Acer palmatum) is one of many Japanese maple varieties. It is characterized by its small, green leaves that are deeply divided into five or seven lobes. The leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red, adding to the fall color palette. These trees can reach heights of up to 50 feet tall and have a spreading habit that provides shade. They prefer full sun to part shade and well-drained soil with moderate moisture levels.
Today, the Green Japanese Maple is still a popular choice for landscaping projects due to its versatility and adaptability. Depending on your desired effect, it can be planted as a single specimen or in groupings of multiple trees. It prefers partial shade with moist soil and is drought-tolerant once established. Pruning should be done carefully to maintain its natural shape and size.
This tree is also popular with homeowners who want a pretty addition to their gardens that only needs a little care. A good selection is available at most nurseries for a reasonable price. Look for a dwarf variety of this plant or a laceleaf maple if you want to make a specific focal point in your garden. A few are listed below to help you buy the ideal plant for your garden or as an excellent choice for bonsai:
Acer Palmatum ‘Arakawa’
Acer Palmatum’ Arakawa’ is a deciduous, upright tree that grows up to 8 feet tall and wide. It has small, almost needle-like leaves that emerge green in the spring, turning yellow and orange in the fall. Its branches are strong and rigid, making it ideal for use as an accent or specimen tree in the landscape. This tree produces small reddish-purple flowers in spring, followed by clusters of red fruits in fall. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil with regular moisture.
It is a magnificent, deciduous tree that stands tall, boasting striking bark and five to seven slim-tipped, intricate fronds shaped like the palm of a hand. The leaf is a vivid emerald hue in the spring, which carries through the summer before gradually transitioning to a luminous golden yellow in the fall. In mature specimens aged three to five years, the bark develops a rough and scaly surface with ridges, splits, and crevices, offering attractive visual interest throughout the year. This is an intriguing specimen, ideal for use in bonsai or as an ornamental plant. It can reach up to 20-25 feet (600-750 cm) tall and 18-20 feet (540-600 cm) wide.
Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’
Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’ is a beautiful cultivar with a unique weeping form. Its bright green leaves turn yellow in the fall, producing attractive red flowers in the spring. This tree grows best in full sun to partial shade and prefers moist, well-drained soil. It is an excellent choice for small spaces or containers as it only reaches 6–10 feet tall.
This is an aesthetically pleasing medium-sized bush with relatively small, deeply incised, clipped foliage. The leaves turn lemon-green in the spring, then a lighter shade of green with red edges as they mature. Autumn brings the glorious colors of gold and pale yellow. The upright columnar shape of the tree makes it a striking plant for your garden.
Acer palmatum Dissectum Viride Group of plants
Acer’ Viridis’ is a dwarf variety with beautiful, finely divided lacey leaves. Spring and summer bring about changes in leaf color – bright shades of Spring green turn to a deeper green, transforming into outstanding yellows, vibrant oranges, and fiery orange-red in autumn. They grow best in fertile, well-drained soil in areas with full sun or partial shade. They can reach heights of up to 10 feet, with a spread of up to 8 feet. This tree is known for its domed shape, comprised of vigorous branching and low-spreading growth habits. This is a shape loved by gardeners, and it is an exciting new experience to see the tree thrive year-round and become a focal point in the garden. This plant looks beautiful in a container on your patio and represents elegance for your home. It grows 6 to 10 ft tall and wide (180-300cm).
Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium’ (Full Moon Maple)
Acer japonicum’ Vitifolium,’ commonly known as the Full Moon Maple, is a stunning ornamental tree native to Japan and Korea. This medium-sized deciduous tree typically grows to a height of 15–25 feet with a spread of up to 20 feet. It has bright green leaves in the summer months that turn yellow-orange in autumn. This tree produces small, yellowish-green flowers during springtime, eventually giving way to winged fruits in the fall. The Full Moon Maple is ideal for use in landscapes as an accent or unique feature. It does best in moist, well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade exposure.
Acer palmatum ‘Beni-Kawa’
Acer palmatum ‘Beni-Kawa’ is a small, deciduous tree that grows to a height of 8-10 feet with an equal spread. It has bright green leaves in the spring and summer that turn deep purple in the fall. There are 5 to 7 lobes on the leaves. The bark is smooth grey-brown. This tree produces small, red flowers in mid-spring. ‘Beni-Kawa’ is an excellent choice for use as an accent or specimen tree in small gardens or on patios. It is also well suited for use as a bonsai subject. It can thrive in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soils but is drought-tolerant once the newly planted shrubs become established. It pays to browse for the highest-quality plants as they are most likely to survive.
Yellow Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly’
The Butterfly Japanese maple tree is a deciduous shrub. It is an upright, slow-growing tree with a dense habit and yellow-green foliage that grows to a height of 7 to 12 feet (210 to 360 cm) and a width of 4 to 8 feet (120 to 240 cm). The leaves sport a variegated form with a touch of pink. The leaves of this variety are deeply cut and have an attractive, butterfly-like shape. The new leaves are bright yellow in the spring, but they turn lime green as summer approaches. In autumn, the foliage turns golden yellow before dropping off for winter. The attractive vase-shaped trees can be safely grafted.
Acer palmatum ‘Emerald Lace’
Acer palmatum’ Emerald Lace’ is a deciduous dwarf tree with delicate, lacy foliage. It has a mounding habit and grows to about 8 feet tall and wide. Its leaves are bright green in spring and summer, turning to shades of yellow, orange, and red in the fall. It prefers full sun or partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. It is hardy down to -20 degrees F (-28 C).
How to propagate Green Japanese Maple trees
Commonly these are propagated by rooting softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer or by layering branches. To propagate from softwood cuttings:
- Take a shoot approximately 3-5 inches long with several leaves.
- Remove the lower leaves and dip the end of the cutting into the rooting hormone.
- Place the cutting into a moist potting mix in a pot and cover it with plastic to help retain moisture.
- Place in indirect light and keep the soil moist until roots form (this may take anywhere from three weeks to three months).
When roots form, remove the plastic and transplant it into its permanent pot or location.
To propagate by layering:
- Select a branch that is touching the ground and bend it down so that a portion is in contact with the soil.
- Use a stake if needed to secure it in place.
- Make an incision along the length of the branch and cover the cut section with soil keeping some of its leaves exposed above ground level.
- Keep this area watered until roots have formed, at which point you can gently separate it from the main plant and transplant it into its permanent pot or location.
How to Grow and care for Green Japanese Maple Tree
Pruning and Maintenance of Acer Palmatum
Pruning and maintenance of your Japanese Maple tree should be done consistently throughout the year to ensure the tree’s health. Pruning is best done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Before pruning, make sure to clean and sterilize any tools used to prevent the spreading of diseases.
The main goal when pruning is to maintain its natural shape and size by removing dead or damaged branches, thinning out dense areas, and maintaining a balanced crown. Prune weak branches that cross over or rub against one another, increasing the chance of infection. Also, remove any shoots coming off the main trunk, as these can become larger and unsightly if left unchecked.
When pruning your Japanese Maple tree, avoid damaging healthy branches, as they are essential for optimal growth. Cut back new shoots that are growing too long or thickly clustered, so they don’t become entangled with other branches. Make sure not to cut back more than 1/3 of the tree’s foliage at once, as this could cause shock and stress on the tree.
In terms of maintenance, ensure to water regularly during dry periods and apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree to maintain soil moisture levels and deter weed growth. Fertilizing with an organic fertilizer once a year will also help keep your tree healthy. Although slow growing, the plant will show its form in the first year.
Search Acer Palmatum cultivars suited for your garden -buy the best size at the right price
When selecting cultivars for your garden, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you should research the climate in your area and determine whether or not the plant can survive in those conditions. For example, there may be better options than this plant if you live in a cold region. Secondly, it is essential to consider the amount of sun and shade available in your garden – some cultivars need more sunlight than others, so this is a crucial factor when choosing your plants. Finally, consider how much maintenance you are willing to do on the plants: specific cultivars may require more pruning or fertilizing than others. Once you have taken these considerations into account, you can begin searching for Acer Palmatum cultivars that are suited for your garden.
Japanese maples have two distinct forms to their foliage. One has upright branches and leaves, while the other has drooping foliage. The Weeping Green Japanese Maple is one of the most exquisite of all the numerous drooping varieties. Most varieties grown have red foliage, but unless positioned attentively, the dark red hue causes your tree to fade into the shadows from afar. On the other hand, when mature in the garden, green-leaved forms frequently have a more significant effect than their reddish relatives. They also have a unique autumnal hue in splendid oranges, yellows, and shades of crimson.
Purchasing online will give you the best prices as there are nurseries offering the customer several services, including shipping plants, within a few days.
What type of light is best for the Green Japanese Maple tree?
These are beautiful and can make an excellent addition to any outdoor space. When planting Japanese Maple trees, it is vital to consider the type of light they require to grow healthy and strong. The best kind of light is filtered sun or partial shade, which means they should be planted in a spot that gets morning sun but is shaded from the intense afternoon rays.
This allows your Japanese Maple tree to receive adequate sunlight without being exposed to too much heat during the hottest part of the day. It is also beneficial to choose a location that has protection from strong winds, as this can leave the tree vulnerable to damage. For best results, they should be regularly watered and fertilized during their first growing season to have all the nutrients they need for long-term health.
The Green Japanese Maple tree is best suited to acidic, well-draining soils that are moist but not soggy. It prefers a soil pH between 5.5 and 6.5 and can tolerate some shade, though it will produce the most vibrant foliage in full sun. To ensure good drainage, amend the soil with compost or aged manure before planting the tree.
Japanese Maple trees should be watered once or twice a week, depending on the season and climate. In the summertime, they should be watered deeply once a week to saturate the soil around the root zone. During the winter months, water more sparingly—about once every two weeks—to prevent over-watering and root rot. Mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture in the soil and reduce weed growth.
Temperature and Humidity
The ideal temperature and humidity for a green Japanese Acer palmatum are between 65-75°F (18-24°C) with a relative humidity of 50% to 60%.
Fertilizers and Feeding Green Japanese Acer Palmatum
Fertilize your green Japanese Acer palmatum in late winter or early spring with a slow-release balanced fertilizer formulated for trees and shrubs. Follow the instructions on the package for proper application. Spread one cup of slow-release fertilizer around the tree’s base for every inch of trunk diameter. Water thoroughly after applying the fertilizer.
You can also use organic fertilizers such as composted manure or fish emulsion, but these need to be applied more frequently than slow-release fertilizers. During mid to late summer, you can feed your tree with a water-soluble fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants. Apply per package directions, usually one tablespoon per gallon of water, then rinse thoroughly.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
Common pests that affect Green Japanese Acer Palmatum include aphids, scales, leaf miners, and caterpillars. Common plant diseases of this tree include anthracnose, verticillium wilt, canker, dieback, and powdery mildew.