Exposure for Japanese maples

millingtoncbApril 4, 2010


I will be planting 3 differnet JMs in the next week or so and would like to get input about sun exposure and ideal planting location in my zone.

Each of these trees were purchased from reputable local nurseries, not Lowes, HD, etc...

I have a Shaina that I bought that is already over 3 feet tall and probably the same width. Tree is packed full of leaves already ranging from dark red to a dark orange to a deep green, beautiful tree...

I have a Bloodgood that is only maybe 2 feet tall or a little taller, but already full of deep red, purple bright leaves with lots of new greenish growth

I have a "dwarf red, Atropurpureum" also that is maybe 2 feet tall that has buds developing but hasnt opened up a leaf yet, early April.

My question centers around the sun exposure for each of these trees. I have very little afternoon shade since my property has only been established for 5 years or so and the oaks and maples I have already are only 8-10 feet tall and dont provide much shade. The east side of my house and shop do offer afternoon shade.

Some of the tags say full sun, some say partial, but I expect these comments to be totally dependent on planting zone.

Can anyone provide input for my location, Memphis TN

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In general, most red leafed JM's have greater sun tolerance than those with lighter colored foliage. Both 'Bloodgood' and 'Shaina' are often recommended for hot, sunny locations because of this feature. In climates with hot, sunny summers and drier conditions, I'd still recommend a siting that offers some protection from intense afternoon sun. These really are understory trees by nature and that type of location is pretty much ideal for any JM without having to make accommodations for extra watering or potential for leaf scorch while young.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 10:28AM
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I live a couple of hours east of you in Dickson, TN.

GardenGal is correct. These varieties are billed for 'full sun', but in our climate full sun is not the same as full sun in Seattle, let's say. Part of this is due to latitude. We are closer to the equator, and therefore the sun's rays strike us more directly. Couple that with killer humidity and you have a recipie for stress on a JM.

The most ideal situation would be to plant the trees in large pots and try them in different areas over a season or two to find the "perfect" location. If you can't do this, I would give Bloodgood the most sun and the 'dwarf Atropurpureum' (there is no such variety, by the way) the most shade, simply because we have no idea what it really is at this point. My Shaina gets about 5 hours of sun a day and seems to love it. She is semi-shaded in late afternoon - the most stressful part of the day for plants. One trick you might try is to plant a large Crepe Myrtle strategically so it will shade Shaina in the afternoon. They are tall -growing, beautiful, relatively inexpensive for a large plant, yet they don't create dense shade. Nor will Shaina ever get too big and look out of place near the Crepe Myrtle. The variety called "Watermelon" looks especially nice with a red-leaved plant beside it.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 7:30PM
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