recommendations for japanese maple in full sun- zone 9

vicsterAugust 5, 2005

We are looking to add to our maple collection: we have a butterfly, coral bark, inabe shidare and tana in the backyard and two aoyagi in the front yard. We'd like something with red leaves in the front yard. Problem is that the spot is full sun in the morning and afternoon and no shade until late afternoon. We are in zone 9 in California in the SF Bay Area. Front yard is south facing. Will Red Emperor or Emperor I or Seiryu survive there? Any other recommendations?

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PoorOwner(Northern CA)

What city are you in? The amount of morning sun (duration) will increase the more inland you are..

I have the Bloodgood and the leaves are scrotched from the sun and hot wind and some of the leaves have fallen off on me.

The Seiryu will only turn red in fall.. But it is quite heat tolerant, only showing some bronzing and minor burns, all leaves are still intact.

I am kind of in the same boat as you are.. looking for a red leaf for planting in front yard but I want one that will look good through out the heat of summer.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 7:50PM
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mapler(z9 CA)

I live east of you and PoorOwner in the Central valley. My "big" trees 15-25' in height are Bloodgood, Seiryu, and Acer Palmatum. The bloodgood and acer p. do well in full sun, The Seiryu I have is partially shaded by large pines with a little morning sun but thrives nonetheless. These varieties work well in zone 9 hot weather - week-long 100+ days. I maintinan a number of smaller trees of many different cultivars but given their immaturity have not been tempted to keep them in the full sun once the hot period of summer begins. I just recently planted many of my trees in the ground in 3/5 shade (more shade than sun). One of the most surprising performers in the heat has been Emperor I - similar to Bloodgood but more hearty. It appears to thrive in the heat and keeps its color in part shade. Sango Kaku is another cultivar that does decent in full sun. Although I don't have my Sango Kakus in full sun, I've seen others in town not having any trouble in the sun. Just be careful with any tree immediately adjacent to a south facing masonry wall that could overheat a tree.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 12:27PM
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PoorOwner(Northern CA)

Just want to report back, I just finished visiting a nursery in their front display yard they have 2 large bloodgoods in ground one have tip burns and one that is completely defoiliated, an emperor I is near by and only showing very minor tip damage on the top most leaves and it is even in a container. It is holding the red very well too.

And thanks mapler for confirming everything I have seen for myself today. I think the Emperor I will be the cultivar I'll be planting up front one day.. As for the leaves they seem a bit different than bloodgood to me. the branching has a more sparse layerered look which is very attractive.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 6:19PM
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I've also been told that the osakazuki will do well in full sun. A larger tree with large leaves and supposed to have the brightest red of all maples in the fall albeit for only about 4 weeks. Question is whether given the mild Bay Area weather, does anyone know whether we will actually get that brilliant red color? I think that we're looking at either the seiryu or osakazuki for now. Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 8:34PM
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Whenever comparing 'Bloodgood' there is always the possibility that one or more of the specimens being discussed is not the true item, since mixed seedlings are sold as this cultivar.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 12:49AM
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nobreyner(z9 Houston)

The Fireglow is similar to bloodgood with better heat tolerance. The leaves are not as dark as the bloodgood's leaves.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 8:44AM
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davidcf(7 GA)

Fireglow is one of my best performers in all day sun here in north central Georgia.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 5:17PM
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mylittlemargi(z14 CA)

I live in Sacramento and just had to remove 2 almonds I had in my front yard - too much water. They were in a bed with azaleas and annuals. I'm trying to figure out what to replace then with. I am considering one or two green maples. The location is in full sun with late afternoon shade facing pretty much south. Know any that would fit my needs?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 2:04PM
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Dampness with afternoon shade could result in quite a happy Japanese maple, esp. if azaleas are successful. However, Japanese maples are sensitive to impeded drainage (as are azaleas), if the spot was too damp for almonds (and the azaleas aren't right in the same spot, demonstrating drainage is adequate there) you may want to check on this before investing time and money in one.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 3:47PM
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raymondo17(z9 Sacramento)

Mapler wrote: "Sango Kaku is another cultivar that does decent in full sun."

I wonder if it would withstand the hot Sacramento summers we have here? I just bought one, but I'm having second thoughts as the only spot for it would only receive late afternoon shade. I was thinking of exchanging it for an Emperor I or other sun-tolerating Japanese Maple, but I sure would love to hold on to this Sango-kaku! Think it might do alright?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 3:22PM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

You must be careful with the phrase "sun tolerating".#1 many of the sites that suggest such are in the pacific NW which does get hot but the sun is not at the same angle thus you most likely will NOT get the same results and might get damaged no matter what they post...#2 Humidity also seems to play a part in how much "scald you will get. #3 Finally I live in central Il and most of my JM's did get sun damage this summer including E1 and Fireglow ...the standard barers of sun resistance. Most were only tip damaged but both the above two were scorched in full sun ... I am A firm believer that ALL jm's do better in morn. sun and afternoon shade...especially when young . But you can expect some damage as far as leaf tip burn even Then as I did on many that were in partial shade ...if the summer is hot and sunny enough as it was last year!!I guess I if I were you I'd stay with the kaku and see what happens since it is highly possible you won't do anmy better with something else in that spot David

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 4:24PM
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gomero(SW France, Z8)

Full sun all day in zone 9 could mean a lot of different situations. Here in Europe it includes the coastlines of Ireland and England, as well as the hot interior of Southern Spain. Japanese maples could be easily grown full sun in the first case and not at all in the second.

I do know the Bay area and, no matter the cultivar, it will be complicated to avoid tip burn by mid- end of July. Some of the best bets are the introductions coming from the Gilardelli brothers of Milano. They have been growing maples for more than 80 years, their nursery is in zone 9 and have selected only those plants that take full sun there. Some of the Gilardelli Acer Palmatum cultivars are: ÂAutum RedÂ, ÂPink FiligreeÂ, ÂStella RossaÂ, ÂGreen GlobeÂ, ÂRed Autum LaceÂ, ÂFire GlowÂ, ÂRed Flash and ÂSummer GoldÂ. I have most of them and can confirm they take full sun in my area (zone 8, southern France). In containers they will all develop brown tips by mid-summer but in the ground, with ample watering, they stay pretty healthy.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 5:49PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

I have a Sangu Kaku in absolutely, 100% full, unmitigating, full Southern Maryland sun. We're almost always in a drought zone, with many waterless days well over 95 degrees.

As per suggestions on this board, I planted my Sangu Kaku in the fall. It was far too hot, still, and it lost its leaves due to stress. However, after our very short winter, it came back in the spring happy as a clam. It did very well during the summer, which surprised me, but all in all, if it can survive the sun and heat in my yard (which evidently is an "atmospheric trough" with its own microcosm) you can do it, I'd think.

I also have a beautiful, beautiful Autrolinear, which gets a tiny bit of leave tip burn, but is doing well very near the Sangu Kaku. I love it because the stems turn black in the fall when the leaves change into its very cool fall colors. Very interseting.

Good question and I'm watching avidly. I have very little shade.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 10:21AM
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I'd stick with 'Emperor I'.

'Skeeters Broom' is a witches' broom from 'Bloodgood' and is another possibility. Here's at The US National Arboretum; May, 2006.

Acer palmatum 'The Bishop' (US Nat. Arb)

In my notes, I checked all the palmatums with no dieback and these were the best. Branch dieback for my climate is a 'winter' problem. However, and I think that these might just perform well (in heat as well).

Definitely the most healthy of specimens there.

Acer palmatum 'Dr. Baker' was another good one:


    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 9:30AM
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I am very pleased to answer your question regarding heat tolerant Japanese maples because we specialize in heat tolerant maples. Of the 408 Japanese Maple cultivars we have chosen what we consider the top 25 maples in the world today. Our number one criteria is heat tolerance followed by color, structure, overall beauty, vigor, and strength of the tree. Glowing Embers and Emperor I are very sun tolerant. Tamukeyama is extremely sun resistant for a lace-leaf dissectum. I am hesitant to pick a few because all 25 we have selected are the most heat tolerant. Enjoy your beautiful Japanese maple no matter which cultivar you select. If you have any further questions please let us know.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pacific Coast Maples

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 12:37PM
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I am interested in getting the list of the most heat tolerant, 25, that was mentioned by maplegrower in Jan, 07, how do I get it, thanks, Archilla

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 12:41PM
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jlcjlr(9b Sacramento CA)

I checked the link that maplegrower included and that nursery only carries what they consider to be the top 25 varieties. I'm in Sacramento where it is dry and hot. I decided to try the Fireglow and luckily found a lcal nursery that had some and then found an even better looking one at HomeDepot so now I have two! I'll be planting one in full sun and one in afternoon shade this weekend.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 8:40PM
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I'm in the smae boat, looking for a Japanese Maple that will do well in full sun but I live in zone 7, in Sams Valley Oregon. My back yard is West facing with lots of sun, clay soil with Ph of 7 to 7.5. I lost a Bloodgood, it was in the ground only 1 year - who knows what happened; I'm willing to try again. I like the canopy on the green leaf Japanese Maples and the one I have in the front yard is doing okay after 1 year.

So, maybe a green leaf in the back yard too. Yet I love the Coral bark even though it is more vase shaped, will it tolerate these conditions? Perhaps an Emperor? The forest service states Acer tataricum ginnala and Acer truncatum do well here in the valley - again these are vase shaped. Any suggestions? These (I plan to get two) will be planted in each corner of the yard with a triad of Juniperius V. Monbells (blue-green, tall & narrow) and two Dwarf Golden Mops in the center along with ornamental grasses and perennianls.

Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 3:00AM
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redrhodes(Austin, TX)

Here's a list from MetroMaples in Dallas. If you want sun tolerant, than these guys have a nursery in Central Texas. They know what they are talking about. I live in Austin, but made the drive up there to buy a few plants.

Most Sun Tolerant - Upright: Acer palmatum, Sango Kaku, Seiryu, Omureyama, Osakasuki
Most Sun Tolerant - Dissectums: Tamukeyama
Most Sun Tolerant - Dwarfs: Shishigashira, Mikawa yatsubusa, Coonora Pygmy

Here is a link that might be useful: at the bottom of this page is the list I posted.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 11:28AM
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check out pacific coast maples, temecula, ca. If they can grow them in HOT temecula you can grow them in n ca!!!
They are expensive. I can get alittle smaller ones NOW for LOTS less $$$. I have supplier and can order for you!!! like $20-25 each.

Here is a link that might be useful: pacific coast maples

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 8:45PM
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