Pros: Beautiful lacy color spot; great for ornamental gardens
Cons: Needs proper drainage with protection from winds and sun
Last year we left our home up in the mountains and came back to city life. We bought a new home where the back yard landscaping had to be done by us. My husband left me in charge of design and bringing it to life. Amongst my choices of trees and shrubs was the Japanese Red Maple. After having one at each of our former homes we saw how beautiful and showy they can make your landscaping. There are different varieties of the Japanese Red Maple with Bloodgood and Burgundy Lace being the most available and most cold hardy to us in Washington State.
What It Is
I chose the Burgundy Lace due to its delicate lacy star shaped small leaves. The Japanese Red Maple is the top choice in small trees for all season beauty. The foliage goes from a deep rich glowing burgundy in the spring to a bright red in the fall. The Japanese Burgundy Lace Red Maple can grow to a height of 10-15' tall with a width of 10-15'' and is a slow grower in height and grows quicker in width with multiple trunks. It is considered an ornamental tree and can grow its trunk crooked and take the shape of a huge tall bush with growth to the ground.
The zones are 5-8 for this tree. It likes well-drained acid soil however it grows fine in clay soils on sloped areas where water does not accumulate. It has mild drought tolerance. It needs to be planted where it is protected from drying winds and direct sun. Leaves often scorch in zones 7 and 8. It likes more shade than sun but part sun is fine. It responds well to several inches of mulch around the canopy. Cold hardy to -20F.
Be sure drainage is maintained around these trees as they are proned to root rot and do not use weed killers around this tree.
We currently have 1 in the front yard and 1 in the back yard and both are holding up excellent and have proved they are winners going against one of the worst winters this area has had since the 1940's.
We always stake our Japanese Maples for the first year, as they are delicate. These trees look fabulous as a color spot and in an ornamental garden. There is no other tree like the Japanese Maple therefore they tend to be spendy at a lot of nurseries so do shop around. We have gotten all of ours at Home Depot who offers a one year guarantee with receipt on all of their shrubs and trees except annuals.
The one we have in our last home up in the mountains, which is on the market for sell, grew very wide with a thick trunk. However, this past winter dumped 42 feet of snow on it and the snow won and broke our beautiful maple. Although it is still alive, it will be awhile before it comes back to the beauty it was. It is placed next to a landscaping bridge with a dry rock river bed underneath and it was spotlighted with landscaping lights and looked gorgeous at night. We plan to do the same in our new home as time permits.
I highly recommend the Japanese Maple for its beauty and for making a gorgeous color spot in your landscaping.