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choosing a japanese maple?

Posted by Jess869 S WI (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 6, 05 at 9:59

I would like to buy a japanese maple as a focal tree for a garden my daughter in law has made. I am not familiar with the types but want the tree to be about 15 ft tall at full growth. i think the red would be beautiful with the color of siding and trim. I want a definite look of a maple leaf. Can someone tell me what to look for and how large will transplant well? Should it be in a protected area? Should it be tethered? Is there a fast growing type or are they all mostly slow growers? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: choosing a japanese maple?

I attended a Japanese Maple open house this past weekend & learned a lot. Some are very slow-growing; some fast. You really need to deal with a specialty nursery as far as Japanese Maples go. Your local general nursery most probably won't have the definitive information you need.

Here's the website of the nursery we visted. Very informative.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eastwoods Nurseries

RE: choosing a japanese maple?

I am a Japanese Maple lover (transplant) from Wisconsin (SE) who has since live in the Mid-Atlantic and now live in the Pacific NW, a few blocks from Puget Sound.

For good web information, the link provided above is an excellent web site, as is "Mountain Maples" in California.

U R in Zone 5 I believe, and most Japanese Maples thrive in Zones 7&8, though some will be able to live in your Zone. For purchase, I'd go to the bookstore/library and look at a book or 2 on maples, visit some good web sites, then find out which regional nurseries (i.e. Zone 5) have the best selection of these plants, and make arrangements to actually purchase the plant from a regional nursery that can guarantee the tree will survive in your Zone.

Japanese Maples are mountain slope plants from the Mountains of Japan. They like lots of water, good drainage, and sheltered location. L believe a sheltered location is critical--if you can have them near a windbreak (i.e. fence, the house) near the 2 most common prevailing wind directions (probably North & West in Wisconsin), they will do much better. They don't need great soil--just average. During periods of drought (no rain for a week or more), they'll want a good watering.

They are not fast growers.

I've grown several varieties, and love the plants. I just moved a dissectum last winter from a wind and sun exposed location about 50 feet where it's now near the house, where it's 3/4 protected from all wind, and gets only about 3 hours of sun a day. It is thriving--it's putting out seed pods and showing beatiful red tinges on the new leaves it didn't show in the other location (Shigare Bato).
That plant will only get to about 7 feet tall.

One possibility if it will grow in your climate is Shishigashira, which has a funky leaf and is considered very desirable & expensive. It grows slowly but will only get to about 12 or 14 feet, maybe growing 3-4 inches a year. A 4 footer will probably set U back $250 to $600.

Another possibility is Seirya, a classic green upright Japanese Maple--not sure about top height.

Again, important to check which Maples will grow & thrive in Zone 5.

RE: choosing a japanese maple?

Zone 5 is difficult for many Japanese maples. Protection from winter wind is important for young plants and a certain amount of branch tip die back seems to be inevitable for many cultivars. The toughest red varieties for me: the old classic Bloodgood - good red leaves all summer, will exceed your height limits, but easy to control by pruning. Never any winter damage, great horizontal layered branching pattern, excellent bright red spring and fall. A moderately fast grower. Garnet - never any winter damage, much more dissected leaves, weeping form, slow grower and needs good sun to bring out the color.

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