There’s no doubt that the Japanese Red Maple tree (Acer palmatum) is one of the most popular ornamental trees in this country. Just look around yards in your neighborhood and you can see why the Japanese Red Maple tree is so popular.
There are over 400 varieties of Japanese Maple trees. Some of these trees are green-leafed and some are red-leafed. Most people don’t landscape with the green-leaf varieties as the Japanese Red Maple trees are more attractive. They make a very striking appearance in any landscape.
Any of the Japanese Red Maple trees are easy to care for. Little pruning is necessary, if at all and they’re adaptable to several soil types. The one negative, if you call it a negative, is that these trees are slow growers. Other than that, they’re a beautiful ornamental tree.
General Description of Japanese Red Maple Trees
There are dwarf Japanese Red Maple trees and there are king-sized Japanese Red Maple trees growing anywhere from 8 feet to 30 feet depending on the variety. The width of these red maple trees can be the same as their height. Most survive in Zones 5-8, and they’re not too picky about their soil requirements. Loam, clay, and sandy soils are their preference. They are very cold-hardy and easy to care for. They’re also a moderate drought tree and very slow growing which makes them an expensive purchase at the nursery. You’ll only need one of these red maple trees in your landscaping in order to make a huge impact.
Japanese Red Maple Tree Types
There are three very popular Japanese Red Maple trees that are all attractive and will improve any landscape.
Probably the most popular of all the Japanese Red Maple trees is the “Crimson Queen” which is a laceleaf variety and a weeping Japanese Red Maple tree. It has longer, lacey-looking leaves and is a small tree growing only about 8-10 ft. tall. It’s width is usually 10-12 ft. wide which gives it a beautiful “weeping” effect. This small, weeping tree looks great as it hovers over a grouping of green small shrubs. It looks astounding next to a dwarf blue spruce shrub such as theMontgomery Dwarf Blue Spruce shrub.
The Japanese Red Maple, Acer palmatum “Bloodgood” or simply known as Bloodgood, is a medium-sized tree that grows about 20 x 20. It’s very compact with reddish-purple leaves that turn a bright crimson in the fall. The Bloodgood is very popular due to its size and makes an outstanding solo appearance or you can group it with green-leafed shrubs. Either way the color of this red maple will make it stand out.
The Japanese Red Maple, Acer palmatum “Atropurpureum” is a larger variety that can grow up to 30 feet tall and about 20 feet wide. This beauty really stands out because of its height and color. The best way to show off this Japanese Red Maple tree is by itself. Because of its height, it does not need to be in a grouping with other shrubs or trees.
Pruning A Japanese Red Maple Tree
This is one tree species that does not usually need to be pruned. It’s symmetrical canopy has a Zen quality and pruning these trees may distort the overall effect. As an ornamental tree, it’s best to leave this tree alone unless it has broken branches from a severe hail storm or wind damage. If you do want to prune it, I would recommend that you talk to your local nursery before doing so.
You can find Japanese Red Maple trees at local nurseries in Zones 5-8 or online. They are commonly available as they’re very popular and purchasing one of these Japanese Red Maple trees from your local nursery is the best bet. Again, they’re slow growers so the price of a Japanese Red Maple tree is usually high, however, you only need one of these red maple trees to improve your landscape.
Sources: Arbor Day Foundation
Sooner Plant Farm