Thursday, December 06, 2007

More Japanese Maples

Variegated leaves of the A. palmatum 'Orido nishiki'.

A bad picture of Acer japonicum 'O taki' or 'Odaki'. It's a vigorous grower and is attaining a wonderful shape. This is different from the A. palmatums which most people are familiar with. The leaves are usually fuller and rounder in shape than the A. palmatums.

The above three pictures are of the Japanese maple 'Butterfly' a small leaf variegated cultivar. This is one of my favorite Japanese maples. During the summer the leaf margins were white but when the cooler weather set in the margins turned dark pink.

This is our oldest Japanese maple, a red dissectum. It survived a move after being planted in our front yard for three years only to be dug up to be planted near our fishpond. It made the move without showing any stress despite cutting many small roots when digging it out. Our neighbor has the same tree only older and more prostrate. She pruned it in early summer and nearly denuded the tree, hacking off more than 75% of the foliage. I thought she killed the tree but it set even more new growth so the tree is even fuller and lump like than before. So I learned that Japanese maples are very tough trees indeed.

This was a no name Japanese maple I bought very cheaply and it turned out to be a very nice specimen tree. The colors were very vivid reds and gold last year but just turned a muted but elegant purple yellow this year.

The gold leaves of my baby Acer palmatum 'Sazanami'.

This is an unknown cultivar. The leaves are deeply dissected but the tree doesn't have the weeping habit the "dissectums" usually display. The leaves look like those of the Acer palmatum dissectum atropupureum 'Garnet'.

Another unknown cultivar. I bought this unlabeled tree at an end of the year sale. It had unique leaf shape with many lobes so I was especially glad no one beat me to it. I've looked through my Vertrees book of Japanese maples and it may be a A. palmatum 'Otome zakura' but I can't be sure.


Blogger Entangled said...

Wow, you have an amazing collection! Ummm, can I ask how many Japanese maples you have?

I've been thinking of adding some of the pink/white/green variegated ones, but I'm unsure just how pink the overall effect is, and whether I would like it.

4:33 AM  
Blogger Carolyn gail said...


I think you've got more Japanese Maples than our garden center ! They're the "aristocrat " of the tree world-so majestic and elegant.

Wish I had enough space in my garden to plant a forest of them.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Entangled,
I have 45 Japanese maples +/- but most are very small. Our biggest tree is about 15 feet tall but the other big trees are only about 10 feet tall and the small trees vary in size from a foot to 4 feet tall. I went a little crazy with the Japanese maples to say the least. I have about 30 different cultivars and the rest are duplicates.

There are so many different forms of Japanese maples, dwarf, dissectums, deeply divided leaf group, variegated group, weeping etc. so it's difficult to tell how a pink leafed variety will suit your aesthetic needs. The 'Orido nishiki' is supposed to have a pinkish cast in the spring but I haven't been aware that it created a dissonance with the plants around it. Did you get the Vertrees book yet or is it something Santa will bring?


Hi Carolyn Gail,
"Wish I had enough space in my garden to plant a forest of them."... I didn't have space but that didn't stop me from planting 45 Japanese maples on a third of an acre. It was madness but most of the trees were very small when I got them. I seem to be very myopic that way. I just can't seem to picture how large they will ultimately become. I guess I was hoping that if I planted them closely, as if they were in the woods, they wouldn't grow too large. :) I hate to be around in about 5 years when all the magnolias (17), crab apples (2), cherries (6), oak, linden, dawn redwood (2), bald cypress (4), douglas firs (4), blue atlas cedar, many cypresses and arborvitaes, several decorative elms, service berries (13) redbuds (11) finally grow to some size. =:@

10:16 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

I think that qualifies as a forest ;-)

Vertrees is on my wish list, but not sure if Santa has looked at the list. When I actually looked at my list instead of just trying to remember what was on it, I found that I didn't have the Vertrees book on it, but instead one by the van Gelderens. Now out of print. I can't remember anymore why I put that one on the list over the Vertrees.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Ruth Welter said...

Beautiful Japanese Maples Ki...I'm not familiar with trees all that much so I enjoy very much when bloggers post and share what they know about different trees.

I was out and about visiting one of my favorite garden this summer and was really captivated by the bark on a really huge old tree . I couldn't tell ya what kind of tree it was but it was big, probably around for 100 years plus, quite huge. I took many up close photos of the bark, it was quite beautiful and fascinating to just stand there and study it. I thought the bark might also make a good painting some day...who knows. Thanks for these lovely pics.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

when I was looking for the Vertrees book on Amazon, I saw the van Gelderens book too. I always wondered how it compared to Vertrees but never have seen a copy at the local B&N or Borders. Hey why not both? I think I got too carried away with Japanese maples and trees in general.

Hi Ruth,
It seems bloggers are definitely more interested in flowers than trees. There seems to be an inverse interest with the increasing size of the plant. So shrubs are more interesting than trees and flowers more interesting than shrubs etc.

I wonder if your large tree was a Sycamore or Beech. Both are large trees and have interesting smooth bark. I always thought the deeply ridged diamond pattern on Ashes were interesting and thought many times to take a picture but it seemed everytime I thought of camera. We'll look for your painting of the bark in the future.

6:49 PM  
Blogger IBOY said...

Ki... You really have a gorgeous group of JM's, and they all look happy. I know you know (kind of) what you're in for when they get big, but it will be cool... you just won't be able to turn around, that's all. I'm almost as bad with maybe fifty on an acre, but they don't grow as fast here. Beni-Otake and Taranto are my faves, especially Beni, which really seems tough, with no die-back even here in 5a land. Now what is the upright tree in the upper left corner of the second picture from the top? I can't see it well enough, but it seems shaped like a conifer but looks faintly like it has bronzy leaves.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi IBoy,
Had I known that Beni otakes were that tough, I would have planted them in the front yard which faces north. Some of the JMs had a difficult time growing there. I remember the -20 degrees when we lived in Iowa many years ago and I'm impressed you can grow Japanese maples much less 50 of them. It must be a wonder to walk through your property.

The tree in the background of the second photo is a Bald Cypress. The feathery leaves turn a coppery bronze for about a month before they fall from the tree. They are a beautiful but fast growing specimen tree. We bought 10' trees 4 years ago and now they are about 25' tall.

Thanks for stopping by.

11:53 AM  
Blogger DeeMom said...

Stunning, simply stunning trees.

Glad I got two this year, so much to look forward to come spring.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Deemom,
Many of the JMs are three season trees. They may exhibit different colored leaves when they first emerge and some of the flowers are interesting as well. The summer leaf color may be different from the spring and the fall colors usually don't disappoint. Some of the pendant seed pods are quite decorative as well. I can't say enough good things about Japanese maples. Good luck with the two you bought this year.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

A forest of Japanese maples--I love that idea! Any tips on buying Japanese maples (maybe not quite 45 of them, *grin*) without breaking the bank?

BTW, I think you might be shortchanging them in terms of season of interest. I love seeing the branches naked in the winter landscape, too. No color to speak of, of course, but a great silhouette. :)

8:10 PM  
Blogger IBOY said...

Ah, thanks for the i.d. of the bald cypress; I just couldn't see it's foliage well enough. I've actually got one I grew from seed I got from a friend's tree, and mine is about eight feet tall now; they get huge too (we're talking garage sized)... neat trees, though.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi IBoy,
Definitely double car garage size. I've seen several full grown trees that are at least 75-100 feet tall and since there are no nearby trees the spread is at least 20-30 feet. I love the feathery leaves and the coppery color in fall but I wish the tree was not deciduous. Remarkable that you were able to grow one from seed!

5:33 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Kim,
I've had very good luck buying Japanese maples from World plants. They have an extensive selection of trees. The grafted trees are small but they are inexpensive and are very healthy. I haven't lost a single one. The trees are only about a foot to a foot and a half but I have several 3 year old trees that are now 3- 4 feet tall.

You're absolutely right about the winter silhouette! And some of the coral bark maples can rival the red twig dogwood for red colored bark for winter interest.

I was out raking leaves yesterday and saw some JMs I missed in the count so the number must be approaching 50! ;O I'll do a real count one of these days to see how many we actually have growing. Or maybe I shouldn't look.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Ki you seem to have a whole forrest of gorgeous maple trees. I love the ones with the pretty pink edged leaves, it's gorgeous. I have just 1 Japanese maple but it's a pretty one with deep burgundy coloured leaves.

I like Japanese maples as they are so elegant!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hello Yolanda Elizabet,
Maybe a forest for Lilliputians since the trees are so small. Many would be proud to be called shrubs! :)

You probably have 'Bloodgood' which is a very popular tree. I especially love the flowers and pendant seed pods on that tree. Elegant is a good description. If I didn't run out of space, I would have gotten more. ;) Thanks for stopping by.

3:54 AM  

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