Today’s post explores one of the most well-known small trees, the Japanese maple. Enjoy!
Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are small, deciduous trees grown for their graceful habit, autumn colour and beautiful foliage which may be coloured or deeply dissected. Many acers grow extremely slowly and are perfect in a smaller garden, grown in large containers.
The Japanese maple tree (Acer palmatum) belongs to the Aceraceae family, which is a popular family of trees within residential and commercial landscaping. While it’s most commonly planted as a stand-out tree, it can also be trained to grow in planters and containers that are above ground level.
The stunning leaves and unusual shape of the Japanese maple make it a favourite among homeowners, who often use it to line patios and garden decks. Even though the Acer isn’t native to North America, it grows well in many of the climates found there. Anyone ordering Japanese maple trees from thetreecenter.com can get advice and a fertilizer kit to help the tree get off to a good start.
A versatile tree
Japanese maples can be grown as small trees or as large shrubs, according to the landscape design. The different varieties of Japanese maples have different colored leaves and growth patterns. Varieties include Atropurpureum, Burgundy Lace, Ornatum and Elegans.
Growth and shape
Japanese maple trees reach heights of between 15 and 25 feet and generally, upon maturity, achieve spreads of the same dimensions. The trees are slow growing, but when mature they offer an attractive round shape and good symmetry. Japanese maples have multiple trunks, thin bark and red or green twigs that are very slender and flexible. If the landscaper wants strong growth, an annual pruning is recommended.
One of the most attractive features of these deciduous trees is their star-shaped leaves. The leaves are generally between two and four inches in length and transform in autumn from bright green to stunning shades of red, copper or yellow.
Once spring arrives, these maple trees develop subtle red flowers which give way to small red fruits of around one inch in length.
The symbolism of the Japanese maple tree
The Japanese maple tree has featured widely in Japanese and Asian art; many gardens and temples in Japan grow these beautiful trees and they are even mentioned in poems and other literature. Every autumn, many Japanese people travel to the mountains to see the red leaves of these maples, known as momiji (“baby’s hands”). These trees are believed to give people a direct line to the spirit of nature, although in Osaka, they are often deep-fried and eaten as a seasonal delicacy!
Japanese maple trees are very adaptable and thrive very well in the USDA hardiness zones five to eight, which encompasses most of the central, eastern and western parts of the country. In more north central areas these trees may not grow well, but wherever they are planted, they need to have a clay, loam or sandy soil that is shaded and not too alkaline.
Potential diseases and pests
Like many trees, Japanese maples can be attacked by aphids, borers and scales, which can affect the branches and leaves. There are also various diseases and conditions that can damage or even kill the tree, as well as environmental issues like wind scorch and excessively high temperatures. Gardeners also have to consider nutrient deficiencies, monitoring the soil regularly and supplying any missing elements or compounds.