‘The Coral Bark Maple’.
One of the best ornamental maple trees is Acer palmatum ‘Senkaki’ (syn ‘Sango Kaku’), or the Coral Bark Maple.
The brilliant new red stems that come to the forefront during winter but add interest throughout the year. This makes the Coral Bark Maple of standouts from the many Japanese Maples.
Reaching a height of around 6m with a slightly narrower width to say 4.5m this is an upright tree that forms a naturally attractive vase shape. The botanical name is Acer palmatum ‘Senkaki’ also known as Acer palmatum Sango Kaku’.
Attractive foliage through the the spring and summer and lovely buttery orange autumn colours all add up to making this a year round attraction.
Foliage is bright green, five lobed with standout red stems. It is the bark of the tree that gives it its name, a really red coral reef tone that turns brown with age.
For an interesting effect in smaller spaces try growing this on as an espaliered specimen.
Coral Bark Maple Care
Although the Coral Bark Maple is reasonably drought tolerant once established they will perform better when given a cool moist root run. Dig in plenty of well rotted compost 3 – 4 weeks before planting and ensure that drainage is good as they do not like waterlogged soils.
When planting young trees Acer palmatum senkaki should be staked to ensure an upright growth habit for the first 12 – 24 months especially in windy conditions. Growth rate is regarded ar slow to moderate, so established trees can be costly.
A position where trees are protected from the heat of the afternoon sun is ideal. Water in well with a liquid seaweed fertiliser and continue with this every 2 weeks for the initial establishment period.
Acer palmatum Senkaki Pruning
Pruning of Coral Bark Maples is generally not required as they naturally grow to a nice shape. Any dead or damaged wood can be cut back using a sharp pruning saw. Errant or very low branches can be pruned if required.
We often get the question as to why the Coral Bark Maple is not putting on red stems any more?
The answer is simple, it has reached maturity and is not putting on very much new growth. Remember that it is only the new growth that is red, as the growth ages is fades to brown.
Can this be fixed? Yes, but only by pruning back the tree by around 1/3.
As a feature tree in any garden, in a Japanese garden use Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’, or the Coral Bark Maple in a group or as a feature deciduous screen. In a courtyard in a large container. Use as a foil in with other Japanese Maples especially darker foliages varieties.
Try underplanting with Japanese temple grass Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, or Mondo grass, Ophiopogan species
How much will they cost ? From $40 – 50 for small Coral Bark Maples through to $500 for a larger 3-4m established specimens.
Acer palmatum ‘Senkaki’ – ‘The Coral Bark Maple is available for sale from the following nurseries
"Propagation and Production of Native and Exotic Trees
with Natural Root Systems from 2 to 2,000 lts."
Est. in 1994, we offer over 30 Varieties of quality 2nd year grafted Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum) available for mail order.
Online and Retail Melbourne and Geelong based garden centres. Check out their large range of indoor and outdoor plants, Australian Natives, Fruit Trees and Edibles, Succulents, Gardenias, Camellias, Hydrangeas plus a full range garden products for delivery in Melbourne.
Carey Gully, Adelaide Hills.
Family business selling a large range of deciduous trees in pots 1-4m high. Crepe myrtle specialist. Includes Ornamental pears & plums, Red maples, Japanese maples, Gingko, Cercis, Ash, Birch, Crab apples, Weeping cherries, Gleditsia, Liquidambar and more. Hedging plants, evergreen trees & fruit trees.