Red Maple Selection - Knowledgebase Question

San Ramon, CA
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Question by randrade2
October 7, 2004
I would like to try planting a red japanese maple tree in a portion of my garden that has an easterly exposure and is exposed to some amount of wind. I would like a tree that gets 20' or so tall. Which of the red maples would tolerate these conditions the best.

Answer from NGA
October 7, 2004
In warmer areas of inland northern California and in Southern California, a sheltered planting location-such as in a courtyard or on the north side of the house is crucial for success with Japanese maples. Any combination of strong sunlight, alkaline or salty soil, and dry winds can result in scorched leaf edges by midsummer. Scorching usually ruins the fall color. For this reason, some nurseries especially in Southern California carry a limited supply of the trees. A general rule of thumb is that the most finely cut leaves are the most sensitive to sun and wind. Here are a few suggestions for a tree that should tolerate the growing conditions you describe:

`Bloodgood'. Leaves are deep red through spring and summer, brilliant scarlet in fall. Seed pods are bright red and showy. Vigorous, upright tree reaches 15 to 18 feet tall.

`Bonfire'. Leaves are bright crimson in spring, turning bronzy green then green by summer, then fiery reddish orange in fall. Trees tend to be multitrunked to about 12 feet.

`Burgundy Lace'. Similar to `Atropurpureum', but with more deeply lobed leaves. Wine red new growth gradually turns bronzy green; new branches are bright green. This spreading tree reaches about 12 feet.

`Butterfly'. White margins on tiny blue-green leaves turn reddish in fall. This upright but smallish tree reaches 8 to 12 feet.

Enjoy your new tree!

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