Japanese Maples are four season plants, the leafs change with the season, making gardening interesting in spring, summer, fall. For many maples the bare branches look good in the winter. What seems to be the most popular is the red leafed "bloodgood" and also growing in popularity is the weeping thin leafed crimson queen maple. The photo below is a Acer palmatum "Tsuma Gaki" or red nails . The leaves on this cultivar look like they have been dipped in red paint.
Growing Japanese maples
Good soil is a requirement. Idea environment would be rich, moist soil conditions with a few hours of dabbled shade, although many of my maples get all day sun. Unfortunalty clay soil will make your maple very unhappy.
Plant high, dig a big hole and amend the you soil with a coarse textured compost like small bark chips. Then surround the tree with a few inches of aged bark mulch. The mulch will help with the weeds, and becasue Maples have a fibrous root system and the mulch will help keep the root system evenly moist.
Maples vary in size from very small 3x3 to 25 x 15 It is important to know how large the maple you purchased will get. Many weeping maples are not planted with adequate space to groe and then the homeowners are stuck pruning branches to keep the plant in its space.
Not all maples have red leaves. Acer palmatum Shishigashira remains green most of the growing season and then in the late fall changes to a beautiful shade of orange
Acer palmatum Shishigashira
This Lionshead maple planted in my back yard is a very slow grower. The interesting aspect of this maple is the unusual textured leaf shape. Because of it unique leaves and slow growth this maple makes the perfect patio tree, growing about 7-10 ft tall, and 5-8 ft wide
Japanese maple trees are not heavy feeders so it is important not to over fertilize your tree. Be especially careful in using nitrogen fertilizers and fertilizers that have a high percentage of ammonium nitrate. Try to limit the amount of fertilizer.
Acer palmatum 'Ukigumo
This maple is not yet in my garden. This photo was taken at Islei Nursery, Oregon. This maple is also known as 'Floating Cloud' for the heavily variegated leaves that are sometimes completely white. Spring leaves will be a light shade of pink. Avoid too much fertilizer or too much sun, otherwise the leaves could revert to green. Not a big tree , upright in form. Gold and yellow in the fall. One to look for in your garden center.