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Need help picking a maple for a relative

Posted by adriantwpmi Z5b MI (My Page) on
Sat, May 3, 08 at 14:23

Site conditions:

front yard
sandy soil
west and north wind protection
full sun after 2 p.m. in zone 5b (lower western Michigan)

I would love to hear what members on this forum would choose for the conditions listed above if they could only have one tree. I am looking for something that will have visitors asking about it and lots of color.

The maple recommended the most I will buy this week.

Thanks in advance to everyone who replies.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need help picking a maple for a relative

My choices so far are Fireglow and Emperor 1. Any others that I should consider before these in the growing conditions I mentioned?


RE: Need help picking a maple for a relative

Shantung maple (acer truncatum). Very easy to grow.

Full sun after 2 PM would worry me

for JM's. I would lean toward an acer griseum (Paper Bark Maple) with that much sun.

Not sure abut the space that youre working with.

Griseum with great 4 season interest in Michigan---bark. They're a little costly and not terribly impressive when young but they'll love it in 5 years...and people will talk about it when they see it. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: paperbark

RE: Need help picking a maple for a relative

You are near the northern limits for growing Japanese maples. I would check with local nurseries to see what varieties they recommend in terms of winter hardiness. However, Bloodgood and Emperor are both supposed to be hardier than most. Also look at varieties of Acer japonicum (eg, Acontifolium) or A. shirawasanum, which are supposed to be more winter hardy.

RE: Need help picking a maple for a relative

Hi Dave,

I would recommend calling the county agriculture extension in the area where you are going to plant the tree.

You can get lots of advice like plant xyz maple or a shantung maple etc... but all maples don't do well in all climates/soil conditions.

I live in the Texas Hill Country and I don't have many options to plant a maple that will thrive.

Best of luck to you and yours !


RE: Need help picking a maple for a relative


I live on limestone rubbles and I have some shantung maples and one bigtooth growing directly into it. Shantung maples are doing great (better than I ever expected). Shantung maples supposedly can grow in WIDE range from Texas to Wisconsin to New York. Very easy to grow as long as it isn't planted in swamp.... Shantung maples really likes growing in sandy soil apparently so that's why I suggested shantung maple as it is pretty easy to grow and it grows fast as well. Mine grew over 3 feet last year right into limestone rubbles but can grow more in better soil. It can handle full sun with no problem. Very strong tree too.

Pictures of 'Fire Dragon' Shantung maples

Here are the pictures of 'Fire Dragon' shantung maples...

It grew a lot last year! Over 3 feet... I planted it in the spring of 2006.

This is summer growth. Quite noticeable for sure. I've seen neighbors stopping to look at them.

This was fall color from last year. We don't get much of fall color in Texas so that's why it's such a great tree. 'Fire Dragon' will always produce red fall color but the intensity of red color apparently varies depending on weather, type of soil and location. I didn't know it could get quite dark red with yellow margins like that. Maybe it's the limestone??? Who knows?

Yellow fall color is the typical color on regular maples but sometimes you see orange or orange reddish but 'Fire Dragon' is probably the reddest one out there that I know of.

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