Saturday, November 08, 2008

Fall colors of Japanese maple, Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku'

Acer palmatum, 'Sango kaku' 3 weeks ago. Leaves have a slight greenish tint.

'Sango kaku' one week ago - peak color.

Sango kaku today, Saturday November 08, 2008 - past peak but still nice. .

Another of the coral bark Japanese maples - 'Beni kawa', literally, red skin or bark.

The Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, 'Sango kaku' was nicely turning color just before I left on a trip to Seattle 2 weeks ago. I am amazed that almost all the leaves on the tree will turn at the same time with the exception of new branches that put on a growth spurt in late summer. When I got back from the trip, the tree was almost past peak and a week later definitely past it's prime but still quite nice to look at. We've had a mild fall so far and that accounts for the still good color.

This was a tree I almost gave up on. I planted it in a north western exposure where the winter winds blasted it unmercifully. After three years of no growth, I finally moved it to a sheltered place in the backyard and the tree immediately put on a growth spurt. When I bought the tree it was about 4 feet tall. It is now about 10 feet tall, more than double it's original size in 3 years.

If you plant but one Japanese maple, this cultivar would be my recommendation. Even after the leaves drop the red branches provide some color in an otherwise drab winter scene.


Blogger tina said...

I just love this little tree. I planted mine in November 03, and pretty much the same story as yours. It is about 12 feet tall now and looks very much like yours. I simply love it. Your Beni Kawa is awesome too. I like the leaf shape very much. Both so beautiful.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Les, Zone 8a said...

This is also one of my favorite Japanese Maples. This cultivar is becoming more commonly used by commercial landscapers, but I guess I am OK with that.

3:02 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Tina,
The Sango kaku gets better every year. I'm glad I transplanted it. I believe I may have planted my tree the same year you did. The three years of suffering in the exposed location may account for the difference in size. I'm glad you love your tree as much as I do mine. Thanks for your very nice comment.

Hi Les,
I see a lot of Sango kaku in the nurseries and big box stores but surprisingly and strangely, I haven't seen many in people's yards? It is such a lovely tree with graceful form and wonderful color, I wouldn't mind seeing lots of them everywhere. What can I say, I'm a fan! ;D

Thanks for stopping by.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Phillip said...

I added Sango-kaku to my garden a few years ago. It is still rather small but the color is outstanding.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Phillip,
The color seems to improve as it grows larger or maybe it may seem that way because there are so many more leaves but it is a wonderful tree to have in any yard. I only wish I had known earlier - I would have planted a little differently to showcase the Sango kaku.

Your crepe myrtle 'Natchez' and the Sango kaku are beautiful. So too the Chinese pistache.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Jan said...

I may have to consider this variety. My "red" one didn't have the good color - too dry in Sept & Oct, but this one looks spectacular.

Always Growing

3:50 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Jan,
It is a great tree. I would highly recommend it.

7:15 AM  

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