- Author: Sharon L. Rico
One of the most graceful appearing trees in the landscape is the Japanese maple. Whether they are planted in soil or a container they can steal the show. They have varied colored leaves including purple, red, gold, and shades of green including lime. In the fall, the colors change to shades of rust, gold and brown. Japanese maple need to be grown in partly shaded, wind protected areas. The soil supporting these trees should hold moisture, but drain quickly. If choosing a plant for a container, choose one that will remain small.
Years ago the Solano Master Gardeners toured the Aaron acreage on top of Mt. Veeder in Napa. We went to see the large display of camellias and were not prepared to see the numerous Japanese Maples in multitudes of colors meandering over the 16 acres. Many thrived under huge, old oak trees; others surrounded the house and property. A beautiful site to see.
Japanese maples do not require pruning. You can shape them, remove crossing or dead branches, but that is about it. A commercial property in Vacaville planted six Japanese maples in front of the building several years ago. The grounds maintenance crew “pruned” them in the fall and the trees have grown back looking like topiary balls. It’s hard to identify what type of trees were originally planted as they no longer resemble gracefully flowing Japanese maples. Incorrect pruning changed that forever.