The Japanese Maple Tree that is such a popular feature in many gardens, include both Acer palmatum and Acer japonicum species. It is the cultivars of former that the most sought after variety as a garden plant in Australia.
Available for sale as large specimens as well as seedlings many varieties are grafted and price will vary depending on size, age and actual cultivars. Values for the brilliant autumn colour Acer palmatum Osakazuki is a favourite (picture right)
The demand for Japanese Maples in Australia has steadily increased over recent years. Being available as dwarf grafted varieties as well as small trees, landscapers can find the right sized tree for most locations.
Used widely in garden plantings for the autumn color as well as the graceful appearance.
Young trees are available for sale by Mail Order, Retail and from Retail Nurseries. Smaller trees that are around 2 years old are available for as little as $25 each. These are the type that can be posted as bare root plants in winter. More advanced specimens can range up to $500 plus for a large established tree.
Types include: Upright (Acer Palmatum), and Acer palmatum dissectum, with the term ‘Dissectum’ meaning that the leaves are deeply cut or divided which gives them an attractive ferny or feathery appearance. Variegated types and many cultivars are also available.
What do the Japanese call Japanese Maples ?
- Momiji – This actually means the changing colour of the leaves or autumn leaves. However now is mostly used to refer to Maple Tree autumn foliage. Also means Baby’s hands which refers to the very young foliage.
- Kaede – Thought to be the original Japanese name for Japanese Maple trees. Also means frogs hands, again referring to the young foliage.
Care of Japanese Maple Trees
Japanese maples are happy in sun or shade but prefer some protection from the hot afternoon sun and drying winds. They grow best in a well drained humus rich soil. Trees should be staked and watered well until established especially during dry periods.
After two – three years most varieties can withstand dry periods and could be regarded are drought tolerant. We suggest digging some well rotted compost and cow manure into the area where you intend to plant the tree 3- 4 weeks before planting. Stake and water in well with a liquid seaweed fertilizer as this encourages root growth. The best planting time is in early autumn when the soil is still warm and some root growth can be encouraged before winter.
Some varieties are more tolerant of sun than others, those that fall into this category do not suffer leaf burn on hot days.
Fertiliser for Japanese Maple trees will depend on your soil, in general a slow release all purpose fertiliser applied in spring is a good solution. In good soil they actually require very little extra fertiliser once established.
- Planting position
Although it does differ depending on your climate and the variety, the best place to plant most Japanese Maple trees is in afternoon shade. This will give you better foliage colour as it will prevent leaf burn. In cooler climates they will take more sun. Acer palmatum Inaba Shidare is regarded as one of the best for full sun.
- Growth Rate
In general Japanese maple trees are not fast growers, although some are faster than others. For example Acer palmatum Emerald Lace is regarded as fast. Acer palmatuum Mikawa Yatsabusa is regarded as very slow, however, very beautiful.
Soil for Japanese Maples should be humus rich, moist and well drained, a typical description would be a sandy loam. In terms of ph, ideally it should be only slightly acidic, generally around 5.6 – 6.5. So in very acidic soils, you may need to add some lime, if the soil is overly alkaline, then adding organic matter can help, although very alkaline soils can be difficult to modify.
These are a tree that requires little pruning however they may be pruned to shape if required and dead, damaged or diseased wood should be pruned.
Our favorite cultivar is Acer Palmatum dissectum seiryu the only upright Dissectum (cutleaf) variety. Hardy, vigorous and dainty light green foliage turning brilliant Autumn tones of red and orange.
Popular cultivars and species include:
- Acer palmatum atropurpureum
- Acer palmatum bloodgood
- acer palmatum senkaki
- Acer palmatum sango kaku
- Acer palmatum dissectum seiryu
- Acer palmatum fireglow
- Dwarf Japanese Maples are also available
These are an attractive small tree generally reaching around 6m on maturity in good conditions, sometimes taller. Many smaller growing cultivars are also available. They grow well in cooler climates, thriving in Melbourne, and also growing well in from Perth to Sydney as well as in the highland areas of Queensland
The upright species and cultivars have a classic ‘vase like’ shape, broadening out to a wide crown. The main attraction is the foliage, which is either green, red or gold in new growth and turning a range of shades from gold to blazing reds in autumn.
Once established these plants are hardy and require little maintenance. They make excellent small shade trees and are a great ornamental feature in the garden.
You may also be interested in
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Acer saccharum
- Acer buegerianum
- Acer japonicum vitifolium
- Acer palmatum shaina
- Acer platanoides globosum
- Acer negundo
- Acer palmatum atropurpureum
- Acer rubrum
Japanese Maples are available for sale from the following participating growers
WINTER HILL TREE FARM Ph: 02 4878 9193 Fax: 02 4878 9109
NSW Southern Highlands
Retail & Wholesale. Advanced trees & hedging. Grown in pots for year-round planting. 45 litre - 1000 litre available. Great range. Great Quality. Delivery available.
Mob: 0421 821 307 Fax: 03 9752 0976
Quality grafted Japanese Maples. Largest range in Australia. Supplying Landscapers and Retail Nurseries. Strictly Wholesale. All states except WA.
We offer a wide range of quality plants (seedlings to advanced trees) delivered straight to your door. No minimum required and quality assured. We deliver Victoria wide and can plant for you too.
Est. in 1994, we offer over 30 Varieties of quality 2nd year grafted Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum) available for mail order.
82 David Hill Rd Monbulk (Opposite Vika Ave)
Japanese Maple and Magnolia specialists, Wholesale and Retail. Large range of other deciduous and evergreen ornamental trees and shrubs.
55 McDougal Rd Neerim South Victoria 3831 PH: (03) 56281507
Advanced ornamental trees and garden designs and concept plans. Direct to your property combined with specialist knowledge and outstanding service.
125 Palmer Rd Jindivick 3818
Open Thursday - Sunday 10am - 4pm
Specialising in growing and selling Rare and Unusual Trees, shrubs Perennials Bulbs and Climbers, a unique nursery with amazing stock.
470 Monbulk-Silvan Road Monbulk VIC 3793
"Guaranteed mail order flowering bulbs, perennials, roses, trees, landscaping plants, garden accessories and community fundraising Austra lia-wide."
COSTA’S TREELAND NURSERY
355 Pini Lane Mudgegonga VIC 3737 – phone: 0357534572 fax: 0357534572
Suppliers of hardy, bare root trees, from June to late September.We service VIC, NSW, QLD, & SA.
NATIONWIDE TREES P/L
3590 Yarra Junction – Noojee Rd Piedmont Vic 3833 – phone: 03 56289554 fax: 03 56289677
Nationwide Trees supplies a broad range of deciduous tree seedlings, rootstocks and some conifers.
HEDLEN ADVANCED LANDSCAPE PLANTS
25 Morell St Mornington Vic 3931 – phone: 0418398540 fax: 03 5975 5559
Supply plant guarantee advanced trees 3/6m high ,screen,hedge, magnolia & others
MESARA TREE FARM
George Emery Lane Glenquarry NSW 2576 – Ph 02 4887 1284
Semi Advanced trees. Wholesale direct. Contract growing. Plane, Birch, Nyssa, Magnolia, Cypress, Linden.