Friday, May 18, 2007

Why Japanese Maples are Quite Possibly the Most Beautiful Trees in the World

Why Japanese maples are quite possibly the most beautiful trees in the world.
Japanese Maples are strong and durable, display outstanding color, graceful form, gorgeous foliage, and come in all shapes and sizes.
Japanese maples brighten the fall season with a blaze of red, orange, and yellow leaves. But fall color isn't the only reason to plant a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).
Few other trees are so well rounded: their roots are noninvasive; their fallen leaves break down quickly or blow away in the wind, making autumn cleanup easy; and even the taller varieties can usually be pruned from a small ladder.
Japanese maples deliver four seasons of beauty. In winter, their bare branches have a rare structural beauty. Some Japanese maples have snakelike, zigzagging limbs while others have weeping, cascading form. Other Japanese maple varieties have coral, red, or textured bark.
Japanese maples can be grown almost anywhere in the West, East, and Southern areas of the United States, except in the deserts. They thrive in the Pacific Northwest and coastal Northern California. In warmer areas of inland Northern California and in Southern California, a sheltered location - such as in a courtyard or on the north side of the house - is crucial for success.
Any combination of strong sunlight, alkaline or salty soil, and dry winds can result in scorched leaf edges by midsummer. Scorching usually ruins the fall color.
Spring growth is often more colorful than fall foliage, and many Japanese maples have brightly colored seed pods. In summer, the leaves range from soft green to deep purple to variegated white and pink.
There are more than 400 named varieties of Japanese maples with almost every imaginable variation of leaf shape, leaf color, and growth habit. Their variety makes Japanese maples extremely versatile in the landscape. They are hard to beat as small garden trees. They also adapt well to containers. and can liven up any garden with the sun shining through a rainbow of colors. If you have any questions regarding Japanese Maple Trees after ready this article please visit us at


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What Climate/Hardiness Zone Do Japanese Maple Trees Grow In?

This information will assist you in determining whether a specific Japanese maple tree you are interested in will grow in your area. Japanese maple trees grow in Zones 6-9, and many of them grow in Zone 5 as well. A limited number of Japanese maples will grow in zone 4 as well. On our website under "FAQ's" you can look up the tree you are interested in on our website, you will find a chart with the "Coldest Zone" and "Warmest Zone" listed for each tree. Pacific Coast Maples takes a more conservative approach to Climate/Hardiness Zones because Zones 5-9 are where Japanese maples thrive and we want you to have an enjoyable experience with your new Japanese maple tree.
On the other hand, J.D. Vertrees, the leading authority on Japanese maples, writes on page 47 of his world reknowned book titled, Japanese Maples, "In North America these plants thrive in the soils and climates ranging from the rain-forest type of the Pacific Northwest to the very warm climate of southern California, and from upstate New York down the Atlantic seaboard to the southern states and throughout the Midwest. In Europe, they grow in the warm Mediterranean conditions of Italy, in the almost-pure-peat soils of Boskoop, Netherlands, and in the varied soils in Britain. They also thrive in many parts of Australia and Asia.
After reading J.D Vertrees' scientific research on Japanese maples one begins to understand the versatility of these beautiful trees." Vertrees' lengthy research also shows that with correct mulching, "The exposed parts of most Japanese maple cultivars, once established, can withstand winter freezing and air tempuratures down to minus 18 degrees Celcius (0 degrees Fahrenheit) and below. The roots, however, can only survive to minus 10 degrees Celcius (14 degrees Fahrenheit)." If you have any questions regarding Japanese Maple Trees after ready this article please visit us at


Saturday, May 5, 2007

Growing Japanese Maple Trees in Containers

When it comes to growing Japanese maple trees in containers there is very little scientific research on the subject, however we can learn a lot by studying the methods used in bonsai. The horticultural techniques used in the art of bonsai can be applied to growing Japanese maple trees in containers or a small garden.
To begin you must first select a Japanese maple cultivar that will thrive in a container. Since maples are strong growing trees you will have plenty of cultivars to choose from. Pacific Coast Maples has many outstanding trees that grow well in containers. Aratama, Beni Maiko, Chishio Improved, Crimson Queen, Fireglow, Garnet, Inaba Shidare, Kamagata, Mikawa Yatsubusa, Osakazuki, Sango Kaku, Red Dragon, Seiryu, Shaina, Sharps Pygmy, Shin Deshojo, Shishi Yatsubusa, Shishigashira, Tamukeyama, and Winter Flame are trees we grow and all do very well when grown in a container.
When selecting a tree to re-pot into a container it is important to check to make sure that the tree is not root-bound by tipping the growing pot and looking underneath. The trees root structure should be healthy and must not have large woody roots circling the root ball.
Before replanting your little tree it is important to select a container that has several holes in the bottom for drainage. If your tree is being planted indoors and your container does not have drain holes you’ll need to make sure to watch the amount of water you use so that your tree does not drown.
Maples prefer soil with a high air content. The soil must also have good drainage. The soil should be very low in soluble salts and should have a PH between 5.5 and 7.0. The soil anchors and supports the tree while it grows in the container. The soil also provides a medium to deliver nutrients, moisture, and oxygen to the tree. Sand based soil is preferred so that your maple is able to develop fine fibrous roots that support the tree. Peat Moss and ground bark are best for holding air and moisture.
It is important that you do not use composts derived from animal waste because it may burn your maple’s roots. If you live in an area that has less than 18 inches of rain per year (see our article- Growing Japanese Maples in Southern California, the Desert, or Other Hot, Dry, Climates.) and/or your water is hard or alkaline it is recommended that you use an Azalea Mix type soil or another type of potting mix that has a slightly higher acid content. These can be purchased from Home Depot or your nearest garden center.
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. Another alternative that is very effective for many people is rose food and fish emulsion. Rose Food can be purchased almost anywhere. Pacific Coast Maples highly recommends using “Dyna-Gro– Grow 7-9-5” which we sell in small to large quantities. We use Grow 7-9-5 and ProteKt on all of our maples and have been very satisfied with the results.
When growing your maple in a container, root pruning and repotting should take place in the early spring prior to the emergence of new leaves. Root pruning is not difficult and is necessary for the health of your tree. Young trees need to be transplanted into the next size pot when the roots are touching the sides and bottom of their container. Root pruning is not necessary during this stage, however it is important to cut roots that are becoming large and woody. Root pruning is important to the overall health of older maples that have reached their optimum size and should be done every two to four years.
After root pruning you may replace your maple in the same pot. When removing your tree from its container you may notice that the roots have grown to become one solid mass and that there is little space for air or water. If this is the case remove all of the old or dead root material with a knife, pruning shears or saw. It is also important to cut any woody roots pushing up into the tree’s root ball. If the root ball is large and dense you can cut straight through the bottom fourth of the root ball. It is also important to cut 1/8 to 1/4 of the mass on the sides of the root ball. Trimming the trees roots will encourage new growth. Fresh soil should then be placed in and around the edges of the container. After replanting the tree in its new soil it should be watered thoroughly followed by very consistent watering for the next few months. If you have any questions regarding Japanese Maple Trees after ready this article please visit us at


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why are Japanese Maples Grafted?

We are constantly asked the question, why do you have to graft Japanese maple trees? Why don't you grow them from seed? First and foremost all of the trees we sell are grafted so that you know exactly what you are getting. If you grow a Japanese maple from seed many times you never know what is going to sprout out of the ground. Grafting is by far the most popular method used to propagate hybrid varieties of Japanese maple trees. There are several other reasons why grafting is preferred to propagate these outstanding trees.

First, grafting assures that the variety you are propagating, will be exactly the same as the parent plant. If when you are grafting, you use scion wood from an outstanding parent plant, you will propagate a new Japanese maple tree with the same outstanding characteristics. Secondly, grafting to rootstock (Acer Palmatum) that exhibits cold hardiness or extreme strength and vigor makes the plant more adaptable to various climates and conditions. Lastly, once one becomes an experienced or accomplished grafter he/she will have a good percentage of successful grafts. This is extremely important for nurseries who want to keep the cost of production low. If you have any questions regarding Japanese Maple Trees after ready this article please visit us at


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Japanese Maple Trees that are Heat Tolerant

Pacific Coast Maples specializes in Japanese maples that do well in hot climates. Our number one criteria for selecting our 25 species was heat tolerance followed by color, structure, strength, cold tolerance, and overall beauty. With that said please remember that although many Japanese maples do well in full Sun, it is strongly recommended that you place your tree in a location where the tree will receive morning Sun and afternoon shade. Although all of our Japanese maples are heat resistant the Japanese maples listed below are what we consider to be the most heat resistant in the following categories: Palmates, Lace-Leaf Dissectums, Dwarfs, and Miscellaneous Varieties. If you have any questions regarding Japanese Maple Trees after ready this article please visit us at

Heat Tolerant Japanese Maples (#1 for example, means the most heat tolerant maples within that category type)

Palmates- 1.Trompenburg 2.Glowing Embers 3.Emperor I 4.Chishio Improved 5.Sango Kaku

Lace-Leaf Dissectums- 1.Seiryu 2.Tamukeyama 3.Crimson Queen 4.Orangeola 5.(Tie) Inaba Shidare & Red Dragon

- 1.Kamagata 2.Aratama 3.Shaina 4.Sharp's Pygmy 5.Mikawa Yatsubusa

Miscellaneous Varieties- 1.Shishigashira 2.Palmatifolium 3.Aconitifolium 4.Autumn Moon


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Where should I place my Japanese maple tree?

We've have spent endless hours evaluating more than 400 species of Japanese maples in the areas of color, size, structure, durability, vigor, heat and cold tolerance, as well as overall beauty, to compile a list of the very best 20-25 Japanese maple cultivars in the world today. We specialize in heat resistant maples because most all Japanese maples are somewhat prone to sunburn and stress in high heat conditions.

It is important to understand that Japanese maple due fine in hot temperatures, but don't do well in direct sunlight after the middle of the day. Although ‘Glowing Embers’, ‘Fireglow’, ‘Emperor I’, and many other cultivars do well in full sun. It is recommended that you plant your maple in a place that does not receive direct sunlight after twelve noon, especially if your summers have temperatures reaching above 100 degrees more than five days each year. Although most of the Japanese maples we’ve selected are very hardy, vigorous growers, Japanese maples in general are not as durable as those old Oak trees most of us grew up with.

The North and East sides of the house are ideal locations for Japanese maples. Many cultivars do not grow taller than eight feet so it is easy to find a tree that will fit nicely in a corner next to the house, underneath a window or eve, or beneath a medium to large shade tree. Japanese maples do well when carefully pruned so many varieties can be planted within 3 to 4 feet from the house or garage. If you have any questions regarding Japanese Maple Trees after ready this article please visit us at