Japanese palmate maple or Acer palmatum

Large trunk of an Acer palmatum with red leaves in the foreground and yellow ones in the background.

Palmate maple, Japanese maple or Acer palmatum is without a doubt one of the most beautiful autumn shrubs.

Principal Palmate Maple facts

NameAcer palmatum
FamilySapindaceae
Type – tree

Height – 16 to 26 feet (5 to 8 meters)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – heath soil

Foliage – deciduous
Flowering – March-April

It bestows us all year long with leaves in a magnificent range of colors.

Planting palmate maple

Plant Japanese maple preferably in fall or spring.

  • Although this tree accepts full sun emplacements, it fears scorching sun that would quickly make its foliage fall down.
  • Also favor part sun especially during the hottest hours.

It is strongly advised to plant Japanese maple in pure heath soil, or mixed with soil mix.

Pruning and caring for Acer palmatum

Care and location are two important criteria that will make your Japanese maple one of the most beautiful trees of your garden or terrace.

Japanese maple naturally takes on magnificent shapes, sometimes layered, weeping or natural. This differs depending on the variety.

  • It isn’t really a requirement to prune.

If, however, you wish to reduce branches, do it between the months of November, after leaves have fallen, and March, before spring growth.

Like other maple species, Acer palmatum leaves might be covered in black spots.

  • Simply rake up every single leaf in fall and burn them.
  • This reduces the harmless but ugly infestation by about 80% every year.

Learn more about Japanese maple, Acer palmatum

Fall leaves start turning red on a lush Acer palmatum.Introduced in Europe in the 19th century, this particular sub-family of Japanese maple slowly gained in recognition thanks to its delicate and colorful foliage. It usually grows much smaller than its cousin, common maple.

A magnificent tree with fiery colors, all these species of Japanese maple furnish palmate or dissected foliage that catch the eye from the end of winter up to fall.

Its red, orange or tender green hues certainly make it one of the most beautiful trees to pair with your heath plant beds.

Acer palmatum is perfectly adapted to the setting up of a Zen Garden or Japanese garden, both in the ground or in a pot.

The most common species and varieties include: Acer palmatum ‘dissectum’, ‘Senkaki’, ‘bloodgood’, ‘atropurpureum’, ‘butterfly’ and ‘heptalobum’.

Smart tip about Japanese maple

Mulch based on maritime pine bark is perfectly appropriate for this tree because it provides acidity to the soil while protecting roots when winters are cold and retaining moisture.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Acer palmatum tree by Websi under Pixabay license
Acer palmatum shrub by Anemone123 under Pixabay license