Falling Leaves: Japanese Maples

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Today is the first day of December and it is cold and wet.  I have been away for a while working on some upcoming projects and can't believe how the fall has flown by.  It is already winter and time to prepare for the holidays!

I was out with my camera recently and captured these trees changing color right before Thanksgiving.  When the evening chill comes Japanese Maple trees turn gloriously vivid tones of yellow, orange, red, and burgundy.

I have always loved Japanese Maples.  There are many different kinds, some more difficult to grow than others.  Dwarf varieties can be used as specimen trees in small areas or pots whereas full size trees make a dramatic statement in larger spaces.  Many varieties require at least some shade, and moist well-drained soil.  Intense summer heat or winter frost can wither the leaves of this tree, especially if it is newly planted. 

A full grown Japanese Maple like the one pictured above has a proliferation of leaves covering the outstretched branches.  When pruned properly in the early years, the interior of the tree will remain bare, showing the lovely lines of the trunk.

The delicate orange leaves shown above are from a small weeping variety of Japanese Maple.  It really looks more like a bush than a tree as it is only a few feet tall, but filled with feathery leaves and color.  This is a good choice for an underplanting as it lives happily in the shade of other larger Japanese Maple trees.

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