A japanese maple to commemorate a birth

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Paul from Texas, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. Paul from Texas

    Paul from Texas Member

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    Houston, TX

    I'm new to the forum but have enjoyed reading the threads in the past. I have a dilemma.....

    I live in Houston, TX. I'm thinking of planting a japanese maple in a shady spot on the northeast side of my house. What would you recommend based on the following criteria:

    1. Zone 9. Hot (up to 100 degrees) and HUMID. Full sun from about 10am-3pm.

    2. Space is a limiting factor. At maturity, can be no more than ~8ft wide. Also, this is going to be planted about four feet from my house - I don't want it to jeopardize my foundation. As an alternative, I have thought of going with a larger tree and just pruning it as needed.

    3. Relatively fast growth if possible. I won't really be able to enjoy it until it is visible out of our kitchen window (which is about 4-5 ft off of the ground). Ideally, I'd like it to be about 5-7 feet tall in 3 yrs. This is what made me think of trying something other than a small variety and just pruning it aggressively if necessary.

    4. Where would you order it (specifically if possible)? Every nursery grower around here thinks I'm nuts ! Consequently, I'm going to have to get it via mail-order.

    I've thought of the obvious choices based on the heat: moonfire, fireglow, bloodgood. What do you think? Any other suggestions? Is this all wishful thinking???

    Merry Christmas !
  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Hi Paul:

    Moonfire and Fireglow will scorch big time on you with that much
    sun and those temperatures. Go with Seiryu. Perfect for what you
    want in that spot. Good growth when young, can get up to the height
    you want in a short time. Easy to control to 8' wide. Japanese Maples
    do not have invasive root systems. They can be planted right up close
    to a foundation providing there is decent enough soil to plant in. Pay
    the money and get a good sized plant. Then you will have instant

  3. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Idaho

    I have all three of the trees you mention, plus several others. Two of them, the Fireglow and Moonfire, are planted within two feet of the foundation on the east side of my brick home. They get full sun from early morning till the eave of my roofline starts shading them (e.g., 2:00 pm).

    In the summer of 2003 we had a really hot one here. We set a new record of seventeen consecutive days of over 100 degrees. I believe it hit 113 degrees one day. I can't say my maples looked great, but I didn't think they looked that bad. I didn't see any of the scorching that Jim refers to. We don't have much humidity (e.g., < 20%), and the air is probably a bit thinner up here, so maybe there are other factors to consider. By the way, I don't have ANY maples on the west side of my house because I haven't had the guts to try. I do have an Acer shiraswanum Palmatifolium in a full-sun southern exposure. He's a tough little sun-tolerant tree that seems right at home here in the sagebrush forest.

    "Relatively fast growth" doesn't seem to apply to any of my maples. I guess I would have to say that the Bloodgood is my most vigorous grower.

    I've purchased one- and two-year-grafts of many different cultivars from on-line vendors, since many local nurseries think I'm nuts, too. Two of my favorites are worldplants.com (see the "Links to Maple Websites" thread at the top of this forum) and acer1987 on ebay. Both nurseries are located in western Oregon. The only on-line vendor of larger trees that I can recall seeing is MountainMaples.com. They also provide a wealth of information on their site.

    Hope this helps,

    Go Broncos -- Liberty Bowl
  4. Paul from Texas

    Paul from Texas Member

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    Houston, TX
    Any experience with...??

    What about going with Osakazuki in these conditions?
  5. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    North Alabama USA

    'Omure yama'. Train to a standard (single, straight trunk). It will eventually get about 16' x 14-16' and weep like a weeping willow. Takes the sun and heat very well, here in North Alabama, zone 7. Colors up crimson in fall. As good in the heat as any yet mentioned...I think.

    Attached Files:

  6. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    North Alabama USA
    Acer palmatum 'Kurui jishi'

    Forget the 'Omure yama'. Too big. As will be the case with all of the others mentioned. I should have read your post more carefully. Acer palmatum 'Kurui jishi' is a tough little dwarf with unusual crinkled leaves, similar to 'Okushimo'. 'Kurui jishi' gets to about 6' tall ahnd seems to thrive in hot sun. The name "Kurui jishi" means confused lion.
    Here are a couple of plants that I grafted in the summer of 2002. The first photo, on the left, was made 6-9-03 and the other was made on 7-1-04. It filled out considerably in one year. Notice, if you can, the star shaped leaves and the edges of the leaf lobes rolled upward and inward, curled, almost tube-like on some lobes.

    Attached Files:

  7. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Keep adding in suggestions Elmore, we learned years
    ago that what people felt they wanted for a specific
    spot changes once they see the "right" Maple. Even
    at times when the Maple does not meet any of the
    original criteria they spelled out to us. I am not so
    sure any of the growing limitations are that necessary
    in this particular case.

    Ogurayama, Ogureyama? Are they the same plant?
    No, from what little I've seen of the latter. The old
    small leafed Ogurayama was Don's best Japonicum
    seller for the Bonsai aficionados. The small, cupped
    shaped leaves drove them into a buying frenzy when
    they saw it. I have an Ogureyama coming in so I'll
    know more about it in a few years. I will say the pics
    that were posted are not of the old Ogurayama Maple.
    The leaves on the older wood growth is close but the
    new growth is way too large in size for the Maple
    Ive known for over 20 years.

    I think Paul is better suited to go around and visit
    many nurseries to see what is available and then
    determine what he wants from those plants. For
    landscaping purposes there is no substitute for
    seeing the plant as opposed to buying one blind
    from mail order. Who knows, Paul may want a
    high grafted red dissectum for what we know.

    Scorching of the leaves mean that they burn and
    Moonfire and Fireglow will in intense heat. Had
    I used the term fry that means that most of the leaf
    burns up and that happens with us even when these
    Maples are planted in a protected Eastern exposure.
    It is our hot winds is what chews up the leaves more
    so than the heat. If in 100 degree plus temps with low
    humidity the leaves do not show scorch on the tips
    and edges of the lobes rather frequently grown in lots
    of sun, then that tells me the plants are not what you
    bought them as being. Sorry but that is how it is for
    these two Maples grown in our climate here in the
    San Joaquin Valley.

    Our Fireglows every year get their leaves fried to the
    point that the what's left of the leaf shrivels up and
    then later drops off and then we get new growth about
    2 weeks later. Can happen as many as 3 times in a
    growing season for us. No matter how much water
    we give them, the plant cannot pump enough water
    to protect the leaves from the hot winds. Western
    exposures here right in harms way of the winds is
    just asking for trouble. I have the misses Fireglow
    in a Northeastern exposure with permanent water
    protected by Soquel Redwoods and still the winds
    chew it up every year. Been in the ground for 11
    years and was a large Maple in a 24" box, probably
    15 years old then, when we planted it.

    Moonfire does not scorch as bad as Fireglow but
    it can in the right locations. Moonfire, as typical
    with most of the purple-red Atropurpureums, will
    have the intercellular spaces in the lobes and the
    tips of the lobes show the burning. The speckling
    of the leaves usually means a missed watering but
    in some cases large areas of the lobe will show the
    desiccation burn due to lack of water and the effects
    of hot winds. Eventually if enough of the leaf has
    burned it will shrivel up and drop off and new growth
    will appear in about 2 weeks also. Moonfire shows
    its lack of water dismay right now and it will show
    tissue damage much earlier in the year than Fireglow
    has for us. We can see damage in the Spring whereas
    Fireglow shows it disfavor with us in the Summer

    Osakazuki can handle what you want Paul but it
    is not a fast grower. In a cooler climate the Maple
    grows much bushier, compact in shape but in a
    warm climate it tends to be rangier, with noticeably
    longer growth laterals. There arent many Japanese
    and Full Moon Maples that are fast growers. We
    can compensate for the growth factor limitation by
    looking for and selecting a larger sized plant.

  8. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon

    I like Mr. Shep recommendation of Seiryu and Elmore's Omureyama. They would be nice near a window as both have excellet leaf movement and slightly pendulous habits. The Omurayma would not likely resist heat quite as well. An the upside to Seiryu, while being an upright shrub, it grows moderately to VERY fast in youth and is twiggy when young. This makes pruning a snap. You won't notice the pruning as you would with a tree specimen where one would see a branch removed.

    You will want to likely stay with a green-leafed cutlivar for heat resistance. In the case of Bloodgood, Fireglow, Moonfire, Osakazuki, they are all upright trees. Eventually the heavy pruning could make your tree a problem and an isore.

    The humidity were you are is a killer. Here in Oregon we have a very dry hot climate, at least in the south were I am. While we get leaf scorch, we do not see the total leaf desication that can be seen in higher humidity climates.

    The Kurui jishi is a good option as are some of the other smaller dwarf trees, but they might not meet you growth and height requirements-at least in your time frame. There are some in the small tree-shrub category that might be ok. One being Wou nishiki. While mine has been a little suseptible to scorch in a pot, it might do better in the ground on the North side. Another is conraversially called a dwarf, and that is Shiana. It will grow to a tall shrub at a pretty rapid rate. If you search the net, you will be astounded at some of the mature sizes on this tree.

    Some or most of the japonicum cultivars will aslo tolerate your heat well, especially on the north side: A. japonicum Aconitifolium, O'taki, O'isami. Again, these will be broad and require heavy pruning. Again, probably too big.

    Some green dissectums have also done well for me. If you could get one on a tall standard you would come close to meeting your requirements. Acer plamatum Viridis and Waterfall are two. Again, like Seiryu, these handle pruning well. With a young dissectum you can reduce the primary branches (or with Seiryu, trunks) in youth to control the size and spread. This concept would work with a shrub like Shaina or Kurui jishi also.

    You might want to watch the potential difficulty in finding any one of these trees. Large and hard to find plus shipping will carry a heavy price tag. Forest Farms also stocks and ships larger trees.

    Merry Christmas!
  9. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Idaho

    If my trees are forgeries, they're pretty clever ones. If they grow well where I can plant them (e.g., not Japan), if they comply with descriptions set out by authors like Vertrees and/or Gelderen (who often don't agree with one another), and if I like them, that's all that matters to me. If they perform better than the original, so much the better.

    Average windspeed at my house in the summertime = < 5 mph
    Average windspeed at my house when temperatures reach triple-digits = zero.

    It can be as oppressive as you-know-where. But, apparently not nearly as damaging to Japanese maples as the stir-fry model.

    Average night time temperature in midsummer = 65 degrees. We have 30 to 40 degree temperature fluctuations on most days.

    My company has plants up and down the Central Valley. So, I've had to spend some time in California. Early morning temps there seem like midday temps here. Maybe this is another possible explanation for why certain maples don't scorch and burn as much for me as they seem to for you.

  10. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Hi Bryan:

    I just do not equate Boise, Idaho, as getting as warm as we
    do year in and year out. Certainly not for the length of time
    that we get warm. The Maples in question can show the
    effects of warm weather no matter where they are planted.
    Some areas are luckier than others are. There is a pic in this
    forum of swanny's Moonfire grown right out in the open in
    Virginia which is something we would never do for either
    Maple here.


    Both Moonfire and Fireglow have to be protected or we pay
    the price in seeing chewed up plants at some point in time,
    especially in the Summer. Even in Southern Oregon Fireglow
    can get chewed up yet 90 miles up the road in Roseburg have
    no ill effects at all. Then drive another 70 miles up the road
    to Eugene and see scorch once again on Fireglow.

    For someone new to Maples going out and buying either
    Maple to be grown in Texas with that much sunlight during
    the hot times of the year is not something I can recommend.
    I think they are being foolish but it can be done and in time
    the Maples will adapt better to that location but if there are
    any hot winds for the plant to absorb also, then the Maples
    will scorch big time as I originally mentioned.

    Just to add to the intrigue. There is some doubt as to the
    origin of Moonfire. Some sources say the Maple originated
    at Red Maple Nursery in Pennsylvania and I was told when
    the Maple came into the nursery here that our form came
    from Canby, Oregon. Also, the form of Fireglow that most
    of us have on the West Coast is not the form that originated
    from Italy but was also a form that came out of Oregon.
    It could be that neither of us have the right forms of either
    Maple but I do know that our forms we had in the nursery
    are what the nursery standard Maples have become since
    on the West Coast. If your sourcing is from a West Coast
    or a Pacific Northwest nursery and the Maples originated
    from a West Coast, more than likely an Oregon nursery,
    then we probably have the same plants. Keep up the
    good work with them!

  11. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Idaho

    In an average year, you would be correct – a place like Fresno would have a much higher average daytime high than would Boise. Here are some stats on average maximum temperatures during the month of July for several of the locations associated with this thread:

    • Eugene 81.9
    • Roseburg 84.9
    • Boise 87.8
    • Medford 90.1
    • Houston 93.0
    • Fresno 98.0

    But, my comments at the beginning of this thread were related to a heat wave that occurred in one particular summer. That heat wave established records across much of the Western United States (see http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2003/us-final/07_07_2003_DvTempRank_pg.gif ). The average temperature in Boise that month was 80.5 degrees. The average July temperature in Fresno is 81.9 degrees. So, for that one particular month, Boise was very “Fresno-like.â€

    Your comments on heredity are intriguing. If I understand you correctly, you believe that your trees, which came from Oregon, are not necessarily descendants of the “original†Fireglow and Moonfire cultivars, which likely came from Italy and Pennsylvania, respectively. I can’t tell you anything about the lineage of my specimens other than the fact that they did not come to me from Oregon. I purchased both of my Fireglow and Moonfire trees from a nursery in North Carolina – just a hop, skip, and jump to the south of the Media, Pennsylvania nursery that you refer to. I’m now thinking that I might have been luckier than I normally am.

    Alternatively, one might speculate that a host of other variables could play in any particular plant’s ability to cope with highly stressful conditions. Examples of such variables might include cultural practices, fertility, soil types, irrigation methods, competitive pressures, water quality, pest pressures, etc., etc., etc.

    I have one final question about some of the references in this thread. I’m assuming that Elmore was referring to A. palmatum Omure yama, a pendulous, Matsumarae leaf-type cultivar. I’m guessing that you were referring to A. shirasawanum (or sieboldianum) Ogura yama. Did I get confused? Or, is the inference simply that both cultivars do well in environments with lots of sun and heat?


    P.S. Congratulations to the Fresno State Bulldogs – winners of yesterday’s MPC Bowl in Boise!
  12. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    North Alabama USA
    Acer palmatum 'Omure yama'

    Idacer, assumption correct. I meant Acer palmatum 'Omure yama'. I only know of one cultivar called 'Omure yama' and it is in the species palmatum. Yes, Matsumarae. I want to make it clear that this cultivar is too big for the site described. Acer palmatum 'Kurui jishi' is a vigorous growing dwarf selection and I feel confident that it will do well in this setting.
  13. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    Ogura yama


    Acer japonicum 'Ogurayama' as Jim describes. This cultivar will not be a great choice for heat, but that will require more evaluation on my part, as the tree is new to me. This is not the tree listed in Vertrees 3rd ed. under Acer shirasawanum 'Ogura yama' and is not synomous with A.s. 'Microphyllum'.

    If you cross reference to the Van Geldern's "Maples for Gardens," you will find, A. j. ' Ogura yama', A.s. 'Ogura yama', A.s. 'Ogure yama', all listed as synonmys for Acer sieboldianum ' Ogura yama'. Confused yet. Go back to Vertrees 3rd edition and see that Peter Gregory has listed A. shirasawanum 'Ogura yama' as synonymous with A.s. 'Microphyllum' which Van Geldern indicates is identical to Acer shirasawanum 'Junihitoe.' So, they are all the same tree, correct?

    Not the place for this tangent, but you asked. I am not qualified by any knowledge that would allow me to take this much furter, but I am growing an Acer japonicum 'Ogura yama' sold by Greer Gardens and from what I can tell, it is not synonymous with the rest. Pictures will have to wait until spring. I have acquired a specimen of A.s. 'Junihitoe' dormant this winter, so maybe I can get pics of the two. Of course I don't know the validity of the latter.

    I have always wanted to know the mean temp here in Medford, Or--thanks.
  14. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California

    We have found with deep watering that Maples that usually
    show some scorch in other areas may not show some scorch
    even in the warmer areas. Moonfire may not show typical
    scorch at all if it is planted in the ground and in a protected
    spot from the warm afternoon sun and the hot winds. Deep
    watering and no missed waterings can indeed ward off the
    scorch. For Fireglow things are just a tad different in that
    even in protected locations the Maple can still scorch even
    with deep waterings but it may not fry. The one the misses
    has does not fry at all but it does get scorched, yet mine will
    fry on me here grown in a container and placed in a Western
    exposure right into the sun and hot winds. As long as my tree
    here gets plenty of water I do not worry about it frying a couple
    of times perhaps, once for sure, a year. The root system is
    healthy enough in that even if all of the leaves fry and drop I
    will still have ample growth to come back, in some cases lots
    of new growth which may just be what I want from that plant,
    lots of new growth. It sat in a seven gallon for about 8 years
    and in the last few years in a 24" box it has tripled in size
    with a somewhat controlled Summer burning.

    As for lineage, a lot depends on where the nursery in North
    Carolina got their stock plants from or where they bought
    their plants from to grow on. I will say this though that
    swanny's Maple is a tad darker in color than our Moonfires
    get here but his Maple is comparable in color to those
    grown in and around Eugene, Oregon. Our forms in Fresno
    and surrounding areas are a rich dark purple, almost a black
    purple once they leaf out in the Spring but will fade to a dark
    purple red about a month later. It seems like swanny's holds
    its color about the same as I've seen them do in Oregon.

    Fireglow is an enigma as I believe the Italian form of that
    Maple is being sold as Effigi and I have seen that Maple
    at an old friends nursery in Oregon. We both felt that
    Maple and Fireglow that we have both had since 1987
    were not the same plant. I'll let someone else figure
    that out for the rest of us. Sometimes I can only gauge
    things but what I've seen over time and in comparing one
    Maple to another. I will say the Fireglow on the West
    Coast has relatively rapid growth up to 10' tall or more
    in about less than half the time the Italian or Dutch form
    will get from what I've seen of it. 12' in 30 years is not
    even close to being in the ball park for growth rate as

    Sorry guys it was I that got the names a little confused.
    I am the one that was suffering from oldtimers when I
    thought Ogurayama was the Maple listed instead of
    Omurayama. Omurayama is a beautiful Maple and
    can be pruned to shape it for that particular spot. So
    what if it can get large in the certain locations, we can
    compensate for that.

    Mr. Vertress in the 2nd edition Japanese Maple
    book on pages 147-148 cites Ogurayama as being an
    Acer japonicum. Junihitoye was indeed a Japonicum
    was the thinking in Japan and select people on the
    West Coast for a number of years. Both Maples
    were imported into the US in 1972 by Mr. Don

    Thank you Brian, yes we are pleased with our Bulldogs
    down this way and I am sure my friends and colleagues
    are feeling pretty good about the Beavers. Now, if only
    my beloved Trojans can win their bowl game also.

    Go Broncos and thanks, Boise, for supporting our fellow
    WAC team.

  15. swanny

    swanny Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Roanoke, VA
    Moonfire color

    I have attached three pictures of my "Moonfire" japanese maple:

    Moonfire 1 Taken 11/19/03

    Moonfire 3 Taken 4/28/04

    Moonfire 6 Taken 6/23/04

    I hope this shows the color through the growing seasons. The tree was purchased from a nursery in Virginia in 1998.


    Attached Files:

  16. I also live in Houston,

    Have planted two types of Japanese maples that were available here.

    One was called a Coral and the other I think is the bloodgood.

    They have only been in the ground one year, but the bloodgood has been getting burnt tips from day one no matter how much sun or lack of sun or wind. Although it seems to do a little better with less wind. I know this because we planted a small forest of them. I'm hoping that they will get aclimatized and do better this year. They seem healthy otherwise just not so pretty with the burnt leaf tips.

    The coral on the other hand was an afterthought. We only bought one and it was much more expensive. And at the nursery it really wasn't that attractive. But we decided to get it anyway. It has also had to deal with more sun and the most wind of any of the trees. And it has turned into a stunner!! The coral bark in the winter is fantastic and the leaves turned a beautiful yellow before dropping. They are green in the summer. Very little if any leaf burning. I don't know how big it will get ultimately but can't wait to see how these guys do this year. Going to plant a bamboo hedge to help protect the other guys from the wind.

    The best supplier I have found in the area for japanese maples has been Maas Nursery wich is in Clear Lake. It is a trek but well worth it. Something like fifteen acres, you can spend the day there.
    Buchannans in the Heights usually has a good selection at times also. And I've seen them at other nursery's in town. The bloodgood seems to be the most common and least expensive. I sure hope that it gets used to our climate.

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