Best Japanese maples for fall color

sprucemanOctober 30, 2006

I have heard that some Japanese maples, maybe mostly Acer palmatum, can have outstanding fall color other than the deep red that the red leaved cultivars have. I would like a larger and more upright growing tree in the 10 to 25 foot range. Does anyone have some suggestions?

--Spruce

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myersphcf(z6a IL)

What colors are you looking for??? david

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 12:27AM
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spruceman

What colors am I looking for? I guess something other than the dark red of cultivars like Bloodgood--not that I don't like that color, but that I know where I can get it. So what would be of most interest would be something in the more Yellow/orange and/or the orange/red range. Really, I just love the autumn colors in general and one source I read seemed to be describing some really beautiful autumn colors of the kind I am talking about here. I have kept my eye open for any of those mentioned, but have not seen any anywhere. If I am going to make some more concerted effort to find one and perhaps mail order one, or drive some long distance to get one, I thought I should solicit some more information/opinions. The small/medium size (I am less interested in dwarfs) and upright habit are important also.

--Spruce

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 11:10AM
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cdjr

Here is a chart that may be helpful. It's not exhaustive but a good start.

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Maple Chart

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 3:47PM
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ezochi

I just recently (this year) planted a number JM's and the fall colors I see now are rather surprising--some disappointing but most outstanding. My good old Crimson Queen I've had for three years can't be beat this year for the bright red foilage that stands out right now. It was surprising because throughout the summer it was green rather than the normal color of bronze to dark red.

For uprights I have a regular Acer palmatum, green variety, the original/parent cultivar that is displaying a pumpkin orange color this fall, very pretty in the front yard. Similar but a little yellower is my Hogyoku cultivar which just turned. The parent cultivar and Hogyoku are good choices for uprights.

Earlier in the Fall, beginning in early October my AS (Acer shirasawanum) Aureum displayed reddish yellow foiliage that was brilliant during a time when all my JP's had not changed yet. Now it has lost its leaves, but next to it is an AP Seiryu that gets all the attention now with a beautiful reddish orange fall color, though not as intense as the Aureum was. Both are in my backyard where I have spent much time just enjoying the sight.

On the other hand my AP Nuresagi is still bronze mostly, unchanged from summer. The other beauty I have is a small AJ (Acer japonicum) Aconitifolium, also known as "maiku jaku" with colorful reddish orange and yellow leaves. I just wish I planted a bigger one! Maybe next year.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 5:02AM
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conifers

I have these, and unbelievably they all have red/orange/yellowish combinations:

Acer japonicum 'Acontifolium'

Leaf 'Acontifolium'

Acer palmatum 'Seiryu' (Grows very fast but grows broad and tall, quite broad actually - but again very fast)

'Seiryu' leaves (2 photos)

Some are red still - the tree just started changing a week ago.
'Seiryu'

Good old Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) 3 photos:

Photos taken yesterday - October 31, 2006.

Dax

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 10:07AM
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gardengal48

The range of color and intensity is heavily dependent on the climate and other factors during the growing season. While most JM's color up splendidly here, this season's rather hot and dry summer seems to have produced some of the best fall color I've seen in years.

The straight species Acer palmatum typically produces some of the best color, but tends more to the red tones although it does go through various shades. My Sango Kaku, not ordinarily known for having great fall color, is breathtaking at the moment, with an orangey-apricot cast and with the topmost leaves burnished scarlet. Osakazuki consistently offers great fall color, again more in the red tones. And I'd have to recommend pretty much any of the Acer japonicums - Aconitifolium, Vitifolium, Green Cascade - their fall color here is consistently great, with golds, oranges, reds, even a deep plum, often together on the same leaf.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 10:16AM
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jeff_al

how about 'katsura'?
mine are just beginning to show hints of fall colors and i will try to remember to post a photo of my small plant of 'omure yama' when it does. that one is rather special because of its pendulous (not weeping) form when it attains some size.
both of these should be in the range of yellow and orange fall colors. 'omure yama' has been quite vigorous in overall growth.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 11:27AM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

I think what GG says is correct alot of fall colors depend on the "season" I was thinking on the same line as the sango , which is readily available...but I think the Japanese sunrise is a bit better in the heat of summer which in your area is definitly a consideration!! ..BTW both seem to be a haven for Japanese beetles, the sango is the worst tree I have as far as infestation from my limited experience with these beasts which I know are a plaque out there so you will need to spray. Another good yellowish bronzish one is the Iijima sunago. But even most "red" Jm's are differnt shades of red anyway so whatever you pick will not necessarily be "bright red". You might want to check with Della at http://nurserygirl1.tripod.com/index.html She is in VA. but may or not be close to you and she is planning a trip to her big wholesale nusery next week and may be able to pick up something for you...even if your not close by the shipping should be cheap and her prices for 4+ year old trees are good. David

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 11:43AM
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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

Any acer japonicum, shirasawanum or sieboldianum. Acer palmatum 'koto-no-ito' and 'Shishigishira' have nice burnt orange fall color. The best fall color in my yard though has to be Sterwartia Koreana. It just Glows. David

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 10:47PM
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ezochi

Conifers, those trees are real nice! Mine are not nearly as mature, but display the same colors. That Seiryu is quite large for the zone and is encouraging to me as to what to expect. It looks to me like the AJ Aconitifolium is ready to lose its leaves for the season.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 3:35AM
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spruceman

One of the places I have in mind for a Japanese maple is in front of and between two special Norway spruce I planted as "bride and groom" trees in our front lawn. So I want some vigor and good upright growth. A splash of color infront of these trees will, I think, be amazing. Reading what I have seen so far in response to my request makes me think the Seiryu might be a good choice. The pictures that Dax provided show a lot of red with some orange tints, but the chart cdjr linked to (also available in the Forest Farm catalogue) says the color is gold. Gold is good, but a mixture of red and orange might be better. Can anyone add to my idea about just what the Seiryu color will be? Of course I know different climates, weather, soils, etc. can affect the color, but the difference between what the chart says and Dax's pictures show is so wide I am left wondering.

--Spruce

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 10:10AM
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jeff_al

here is 'sango kaku', taken yesterday.
don't forget the beauty of the red bark in winter, esp. if you have a snowfall!
vertrees' book says yellow/golden fall tones for this one but, down here, the colors are almost identical to what gardengal describes.
(click for larger images)

on a side note, this same book says that 'osakazuki' is reported to have "the most brilliant fall colors (crimson)of any cultivar" as well as "relatively large palmate leaves and is a hardy, strong grower". the picture of this tree in his book seems to glow!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 12:40PM
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cdjr

Here are a few more pictures showing the red, orange and yellows of Seiryu:

http://www.fujiyamagarden.com/Seiryu.html
http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/forums/showthread.php?t=2141
http://www.pbase.com/bstelloh/image/7174815

Looks like you might be very happy with it.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 2:12PM
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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

I also have acer takesimense. It is more upright, has nice rounded type leaves and nice fall color like a japonicum. It should also end up being about the size you want. Some paper bark Maples also have nice fall color as was shown above, great winter interest with the bark and are also the size you are looking for. David

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 10:07PM
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conifers

Spruceman - 'Seiryu' every year except one has been a beautiful show. Acer japonicum 'Acontifolium' is even more consistent but grows much, much slower.

I'm going to graft a boatload of Maples this winter. Check with me for a nice 2 to 3 footer of 'Seiryu' or whatever come June, I'll send ya one for free.

I have several 'Omurayama' grafts also from this summer... Fantastic cultivar...

Dax

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 8:20AM
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conifers

Spruceman,

The inconsistent year it only turned Red:)

Otherwise it's certainly like looking through pained glass.

Dax

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 8:22AM
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conifers

'Seiryu' May 2004

'Acontifolium' May 2004

'Seiryu' Fall 2005

Acer freemanii 'Jeffersred' Fall 2005 Bickelhaupt Arboretum

Dax

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 8:36AM
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magnumv8

Conifers,

I love the Paperbark. I planted one this year. Your's is limbed up like mine. The crown on mine isn't quite as developed as yours. Do you have any idea how old your's is? You can see mine from earlier this year at this link,

Here is a link that might be useful: My paperbark (not fall color)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 7:23PM
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conifers

That's a beauty man. Got some beef to it actually. Mine I got in 2001 while working at a nursery. I swear the thing was 10 feet tall with a trunk as thick as copper pipe for plumbing. It also had like a branching structure the size of one of those things we as kids used to hop around on, that thing that was like a big balloon with handles. It was the weakest looking thing I had ever seen. They gave it to me. Then for about two years it sat there in my yard, same as yours, no peeling...no growing. Then it grew two feet the third year. Then the fourth year it grew 6 inches. Then again the fifth year two feet all in the meantime now the trunk has some girth.

It's a great tree.

Fall color poor for four years. Then wammo!

This year I had a bumper crop of seeds to boot. Man I couldn't be happier.

Well thanks, I like your's too. Their for guys that wear black caps that say on the cap to look out for guys that wear black caps. Kind of like a Chevy truck commercial, you know?

And thanks earlier to the person in zone five for commenting about the 'Acontifolium' and so forth.

Gotta run and take me meds!

See ya guys,

The Captain.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 8:07PM
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wqcustom(z7b NC)

Here's my Acer Japonicum Attaryi this fall..

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 10:32PM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

WQ you might want to repost your jpeg...unless your camera was filled with lemon aid ;>) david

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 9:47AM
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myersphcf(z6a IL)

Either you fixed it or it was on my side the attaryi looks great.. David

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 1:09PM
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spruceman

Dax:

Thanks for the kind offer. Right now my Japanese maple idea is on hold--my wife likes the two spruce trees as they are without any companion plantings. I am always trying to come up with more ideas for planting trees, so I will work more this winter and see what I can come up with. So you may hear from me later.

--Spruce

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 9:20PM
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conifers

You got it.

Dax

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 8:06AM
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maplegrower

The best Japanese maple for fall color is Osakazuki. Nothing is as red or as bright. Aconitifolium also has stunning fall color. Glowing Embers has red, yellow, orange, and an almost purple colored leaves in the fall. It has a rainbow of colors in the fall.

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

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 8:42PM
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