I think the Japanese Maple or Acer Palmatum is the most beautiful maple variety. From the moment I owned a garden, I had one or more in a prominent place. The leaf is the most characteristic of the Acer Palmatum. Depending on the species, the leaf changes color in autumn to yellow, orange, deep red, bright red, and all shades in between. The color of the leaves is also attractive from spring onwards and changes color from or to red and green, depending on the species. In winter the maple loses its leaves.
Japanese maple tree
Acer palmatum is a small tree or large shrub with a dense canopy. As the name implies, the maple originates in Japan and South Korea. The tree or multi-stemmed shrub grows slowly. Ultimately, under the right conditions and with sufficient space, the tree could reach a height of 10 meters. However, many varieties will remain a lot smaller.
The Acer palmatum can also be grown in Bonsai form. The leaves of the Acer Palmatum are double serrated and five to nine lobes. In autumn they get beautiful colors, from red to reddish-purple. The leaves of some species have a purplish-red color all year round, they turn bright red in the autumn.
Read more about the types of Japanese maples that are definitely worth a look in the article Acer Palmatum, the 10 most beautiful varieties.
The Acer Palmatum likes a moisture-retaining but permeable soil type, preferably a humus-rich and slightly acidic soil. They prefer a semi-shaded spot, especially the red varieties. With the red Japanese maples, you have a chance of the sun will burn the leaves. The leaf margin will turn brown and shrivel.
Although you might think otherwise, the Acer Japonicum is not a Japanese Maple. This maple is native Japanese but does not belong to the species Acer Palmatum according to Wikipedia. It looks a lot like a Japanese Maple, the conditions, growth habits and leaf development are the same.
Japanese maple care
If a maple is in the right place and in the right conditions, it needs little care. Make sure they have sufficient nutrition available, through the right soil type. If necessary, you can prune the Japanese maple.
How to prune a Japanese maple
In principle, a Japanese Maple does not need to be pruned. In the spring, just before sprouting, remove the dead branches by pruning the dead part. Leave a small piece of the dead part on the branch to prevent bleeding. The maple is a bleeding species. This means that it already creates a juice flow from winter. The tree does this to provide the young leaves with sufficient nutrients when they start to grow.
If you prune during this period, the tree will bleed at the place where you prune. So only start pruning when the tree or shrub has finished producing the leaves. It is wise to wait until the beginning of July. The juice flow is still present but with much less pressure.
You can prune the Japanese Maple from the beginning of July to the end of August. When pruning, make sure that you do not prune more than 20% of the plant. You prune by removing a few branches completely. Then cut slightly above a young twig that sticks out. Make sure you keep a nice shape.
Japanese maple fertilizer
Provide sufficient nutrients in the soil, you can do this by mixing garden peat through the soil. You can give them a handful of cow manure pellets twice a year, this is more than enough. The Maple does not need much nutrition.
Japanese maple in pot
A maple can be kept in a pot. But, because the soil in a pot dries out faster, it is important to provide sufficient water during dry periods. Also, make sure there is enough space for the roots of the tree or shrub. When a plant is in a pot, it is important to add extra nutrition. You can use Mediterranean soil, rhododendron soil, or peat potting soil for this. Cow manure pellets can be given extra, a handful twice a year is sufficient. Also ensure good drainage in a pot, so that the water does not remain in the pot.
Japanese Maple cuttings
You can make cuttings from the pruned branches. The cuttings should preferably be pruned early in the morning. Make sure there are 2 eyes, remove the leaves, and put the cutting in a mixture of sand with peat dust. Use cutting powder to promote root growth, this also prevents the development of fungi. Keep the cuttings moist. You can also graft Japanese maples by placing a graft on the rootstock of a seeded maple.
Moving Japanese Maple
Moving a Japanese Maple is best done when the plant has no leaves yet. Autumn or early spring, when it is not freezing, is suitable for this. Make as large a hole as possible, fill it with soft peat soil. Moisten the soil well and put the Japanese maple in it. Firmly press the soil around the roots, so that the plant remains upright, even in windy conditions, and can root well. During the first year, keep an eye on whether the plant is getting enough moisture and otherwise add extra water.
Japanese Maple Bonsai
Acer Palmatum has suitable varieties for pruning into bonsai. Take a few cuttings from the tree you want to make the Bonsai from, and then later choose the one that develops the best. Make sure you give the cutting enough moisture. Then look for tips to give your Bonsai the best shape. The shape is intended to be the same as the natural shape but in miniature form. Repot the bonsai regularly and prune 20% of the roots, the tops of the new shoots are pruned after 2 to 4 complete leaves have formed.
If you prefer a different kind of maple, read more information about The maple in The maple, the perfect tree for your garden or view the different types of Japanese maples in the article Acer Palmatum, the 10 most beautiful varieties.