recommend a red/purple

mrtulinMay 12, 2010

I am ready to purchase a j.maple. The rather vague requirements:

zone 5 (no zone pushing here)

part sun (full sun 3 hours, part sun the rest)


maximum growth at 10 years about 4 feet tall

fine leaved

deep red, purple (approximate color of new growth on old of

crimson pygmy barbary)

Hold color all season....

I already have Bloodgood

I cannot break the bank. I am not a collector though I want a good looking plant. It just doesn't have to be exotic to please me.

it will be in a perennial bed of pretty run of the mill plants: agastashe, baptisia, monarda, daisies and lots of chartruse. I really am trying to echo the rounded shape of a well pruned (not overpruned meatball) b. crimson pygmy and that color.

Also, nurseries within 2 hours of Boston that have a good healthy selection.



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I think my comment on ultimate height didn't make sense. What I mean is that I don't want a plant that's going to shoot up to 10 feet tall in 3 years. Or in 20 years, which is the maximum we'll probably be able to hold out here (and will we be old then!)

I realize there will be some pruning.

and my price, more than $150 would make me pretty uncomfortable for one small tree. Which is ridiculous consider what I spent on perennials this year. Even more ridculous when you consider the life span of a woody compared to a perennial.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 7:15PM
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Most Japanese maples are considered hardy to zone 5 and there is a lot of discussion on this forum of those gardeners who do grow them in colder zones with reasonable success. Based on that, any redleafed dissectum should do OK, although you may want to consider some additional protection for its first winter in the ground.

As to which specific cultivar to choose, that's up to you and what your sources may have on offer. No weeping dissectum can be expected to attain significant height - that is not their growth habit - and certainly not in any hurry :-) Ultimate height is dependent on where the graft is located and how the tree was trained -- low grafted, unstaked trees will never get tall - 3-4 feet is typical. High grafted, staked trees will grow as tall as the staking allows but generally top out at around 10-12'. Low graft, staked trees will be somewhere in between.

'Tamukeyama' holds its color very well, even in sun, and tends to form a large umbrella or mushroom shaped plant, but you'll find very little difference in color, habit and size between that and most other red laceleafs, like 'Crimson Queen', 'Garnet', 'Red Select', 'Inabu Shidare' or 'Red Dragon'. It typically takes an expert to tell them apart.

Any pruning you contemplate should be done to enhance form and growth habit rather than to maintain a smaller size.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 12:04PM
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I love my Tamukeyama. It does get quite wide, but prunable (so far?) and worth it. Here's some pictures

2003 recently planted:

June 2009:

Aug 2009: still great color

I think that's Heuchera 'Plum Pudding' in the foreground. It echos the color well.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 9:13AM
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Oh, also I wanted to add that we had a decent frost here last week and not one leaf was troubled. Can't say the same for some of my other Acers.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 9:18AM
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Thanks to all of you for helpful information. Wendy, the photos where encouraging.
I was poking around my favorite little nursery today and in among the 250 to 500 dollar j.maples, was one in a 4 gallon pot and just short of 3 feet, i'd guess. It is a 'generic' "red selection acer dissectum" I could see some tiny amount of greening of the underside of some leaves. But hey, it's
$65 dollars. It's fully leafed out, only a couple of dead twigs, and the weeping shape is not bad at all.

Should I give it a try? What is there to lose besides 65 dollars?
Thanks for your opinions.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 9:22PM
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What is there to lose besides 65 dollars?


it might take 2-3 years to be disappointed if it greens out during the summers. Or 2-3 winters/springs to learn that it doesn't handle late frosts.

Tamukeyama is really quite popular and I'm sure you can find a named one.

When I was researching this same issue, especially concerned about hardiness, I came up with Red Dragon, Inabe Shidare and Tamukeyama as safe for 5A. Doesn't mean others aren't safe, but I felt confident with any of those three.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 10:28PM
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I had the same thought, Wendy.
A little more research: the tag says "red select" which all sources say is Inabe Shidare, a 'vigorous' and faster growing dissectum, holds its color well, less leaf scorch.

It may not be suitable for my perennial bed, but it sounds like a good landscape it could hold its own...and some heavy snow as well

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 11:13PM
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I have Inabe Shidare as well. It was much taller than tamukeyama to start off with. Could be my particular graft? Not sure how those things go. Definitely it gets a bit brownish late season, but not too bad. Here's some shots. (not all from the same year)





I.S one gets similar (morning) sun as Tam, maybe a tad more.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 11:57PM
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From an hours internet search, that's my impression of I.S. is consistent with what you see in your garden. I see you have it at the woods' edge, which is where it seemed suitable to me, too.

65 seems a very reasonable price, so I'll get it. I don't have anything red leaved in any back borders.

The search for a garden-appropriate one continues. RAther the search for a nursery with a reasonably priced one continues.

Thanks, everyone. Any other ideas, recommendations or cautions appreciated.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 10:57AM
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