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Acer palmatum in zone 9.. too far south?

Posted by obiboobywan 9 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 11, 07 at 2:39

Hello all, I'm brand new and excited to find these forums.

I've just recently gotten interested in the idea of growing trees.. both in my yard and as bonsai. From viewing as many trees and bonsai as I can I've totally fallen for Japanese Maples.

I've been absorbing everything I can lately on the internet and books ranging from basic tree physiology to bonsai specifics.

I picked up an Acer palmatum Atropurpureum at my local nursery recently and have been staring at it for several days now while I learn everything I can about pruning and general care for it.

One concern I have is that I am frequently seeing Acer palmatum's hardiness range only extending to 8. I live in central Florida, just east of Tampa in zone 9. I have also seen 86 degrees (F) as a sort of recommended ceiling.

Should I be concerned about being too far south for growing Japanese Maples either in my yard or as bonsai (and perhaps other maples)? Or will I just need to give extra care to possible heat related problems?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Acer palmatum in zone 9.. too far south?

  • Posted by gomero SW France, Z8 (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 11, 07 at 3:03

High summer temperatures as mentioned is not the main limitation. My maples see highs in the 90s and 100s every summer and they are fine.
More important is that maples need a certain amount of cold to go dormant, this is an important limitation to growing them in warm climates. I cannot quote the exact requirements, you may try to find that information in the Internet.


RE: Acer palmatum in zone 9.. too far south?

I'm in zone10(san diego) and have been growing few different cultivar for a few years. they do fine, just that when it gets really hot during the summer the leaves burn and they dont easily get the fall colors that is so sought after by maple grower. Some more common cultivar that are heat tolerant are: bloodgood, moonfire, waterfall.

RE: Acer palmatum in zone 9.. too far south?

Thanks for the answers. That's just what I needed.

I hadn't thought about dormancy too much, although it had occured to me as I read references to it and thought about the reality of winter this far south. I have not taken the time to learn about it more specifically however but it looks like I'd better do so.

RE: Acer palmatum in zone 9.. too far south?

Yes, you should research more closely the required dormancy period and compare that with your environment. It would be my estimate that the trees need at least two (preferably three) months of dormancy. Nightly temps of below 40 and daily temps in the low 60s would likely be sufficient, but I'm not positive on exact numbers.

Like mentioned above, high temps will not be much of a problem aside from leaf burn. Having said that I would recommend placing the tree in quite a bit of shade to ease the stress. Diseases often feed on stressed trees, and the high heat and humidity would cause stress. Here in SC, we have about 2 months of above 90 degree average temps with high humidity, and my trees do fine. However, it is the dormancy that will be the issue.

I've heard stories that disney world plants large japanese maples every few years because they have to replace them due to a lack of dormancy, but I can't confirm this.

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