Which maple should I choose?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Margot, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    It's hard to monitor this forum without becoming more interested in Japanese Maples. So far, I have Bloodgood, Osakazuki, Seiryu, Orangeola, and Waterfall (dispensing with genus and species). Now, I want more! The growing conditions here are not ideal so I'm looking at smaller varieties which could, if necessary, be happy in containers. Two that appeal to me are Acer palmatum 'Matsukaze' and Acer shirasawanum 'Sensu'. If availability is not an issue, I am interested in which of these is considered to be easier to grow.
     
  2. Ken Hamilton

    Ken Hamilton Active Member

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    Hi Margot. I grew Chitoseyama in a container for quite a few years and enjoyed its shape, colour in spring, and then amazing fall display. My latest favourite is Summergold which with me takes full sun and does not grow too fast. Again availability in your area may be an issue. I don’t have experience with the two you mention in containers but as you will find out...plenty of choice!
     
  3. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Ken - thank you for your recommendations. Those are both beautiful trees . . . I think my decision is about to get more complicated.
     
  4. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Acer shirasawanum 'Sensu' is super easy to grow. We have ours in a 3" deep container growing in full sun near a hot brick paver walkway. Not too many Japanese maples would survive such conditions. Sensu never shows any signs of stress despite Summers in the 90's with heat index over 100F.
     
  5. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Thank you! Just the reassurance I was hoping to find . . . my main concern about 'Sensu' was that my chosen spot to plant it would be too hot.
     
  6. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Mine was bought as a 3 gallon maple about 5 years ago. It always did great in the sun and heat. If it we're a 1 year old graft, I can't say how well it would do, because in my opinion 1 year old graft should not be sold. They have too high of a fail rate by the time they get to the consumer. These young grafts belong with the grower in a greenhouse where temperature and moisture is closely monitored. They should really wait until they are 3 years old if they care for their plants and their customers satisfaction. Just my 2 cents worth.
     
  7. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    What do you guys reckon the in-ground size of 'Sensu' would be, in good conditions, in 10 years? I'm wondering if this might be a nice small/intermediate planting for me. Eventual size isn't mentioned in Vertrees/Gregory.
     
  8. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Most say 8' in ten years, but based on my observations of yearly growth in our more extreme climate, I think 8' would be in a climate where you get 3 flushes of growth each season in PNW with mild weather and an extended growing season. Providing the tree is not amped up on nitrogen and water, properly maintained by pruning for good structure, I think 6' tall by 4' wide with a bushy stature in 10 years. With maintenance pruning it could be kept more compact.

    I think it would make a great small/intermediate tree because it's on the slower side, distance between leaf pairs is 1.5" and grows bushy, so it's super easy to keep in bounds. With sun and heat the leaves always have interesting colors during the entire growing season. Talon who introduced it, says it has the best fall color of all shirasawanum. I think he is partial, but it does compete very well with vivid and unusual fall colors (depending on sun and season I have seen pinks and purples, on the other end of the spectrum I have seen pumpkin, bright orange, red and yellow all in one leaf. The largest one in a photo I know of growing in ground is on plant lust photo gallery, photo by conifer kingdom:
    Acer shirasawanum 'Sensu' | plant lust
    Click on the round photo icon to see full size picture of the tree.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  9. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    Here's the Summer color of my little tree from a picture taken yesterday.
     

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  10. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thanks John, it does look nice, and a good size. Appreciate the pic.
     

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