Monday, February 15, 2010

The Japanese maple you should rely on.

Often I am asked to plant a Japanese maple ,Acer palmatum,by a client. Seldom do they think of the care this special tree needs. Just because we live in Washington doesn't mean it will grow. We live in Eastern Washington, the ever brown side of the state and sometimes plants don't look the same as they do on the Puget Sound side of the state.

I have seen many maples burn during the summer. I have seen them burnt after the winter. I have watched as the buds swell and leaves start to emerge only to see them wither up and have to leaf out again.

Here are a few tips.

Water your Japanese maple later into the fall. I recommend this with all trees really. We are a drought area, high desert, and winter is even dryer with freezing winds. Remember- If the ground isn't frozen them maybe you need to water it.

What one needs to remember about maples and spring. Maples tend to start drawing up moisture in late February and early March. If the moisture is not there then its not going to be good. (And please remember how much you paid for that little tree!) The other spring thing to be aware of is that maple leaves are tender and can freeze in the frost. It's a fact, and one has to deal with it and take that chance.
The other thing I highly recommend here is that you do not plant your Japanese maple out in the open. I would protect it from a couple of things. Direct burning summer sun and drying winds. So plant it somewhere in the easterly side, north or south, but not on the hot west side of your house where it will get twice the heat because it is being reflected off of your house.
ow I do have a secret tree I like to use. This was the point of this blog wasn't it?
Yes, I like Acer p. 'Shaina', and have recommended Acer p. 'Twombly's Red Sentinel'. The tree you should look at for many reasons is Acer palmatum 'Emperor I'.

Now here is why- It has excellent color. Everyone loves those burgundy leave! and the second is a strange reason, but it leafs out 2-3 weeks later than most varieties? I don't know why, but it does. This offers a few more weeks of protection because it is not leafing out during the frosty times. I am not saying that it can't get bit by the frost, it just has an advantage because it it a few weeks later then all cousins.

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