Answer: Rather than growing upright with a central leader and straight horizontal branches as you would expect a tree to grow, some Japanese maples grow into a shrub shape; short and wide. Because the branches droop, especially under the weight of the leaves, they look like a mound of foliage rather than a tree. This rounded or mounded shape is very attractive and because the trees are on the small side you can plant them in containers to use as a specimen or focal point in the garden. Hope this answers your question.
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