Winner Cultivars

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Scion Swapper, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. Scion Swapper

    Scion Swapper Active Member

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    New Jersey, USA
    I am both a japanes maple collector by hobby and a propagator/nurseryman by trade. The vast majority of my personal colllection I don't propagate or sell to our customers. The main reason being that many of the 200 or so in my collection, and 500+ (might be 1000 by now) cultivars on the market don't have a large commercial appeal outside of maple collectors and small volume/high dollar specialty nurseries (to which we generally don't sell). Anyway, I love collecting JMs personallly and I personally justify collecting them from a business standpoint to "evaluate" newer cultivars which may have large scale commercial appeal. In other words, cultivars that are vigorous, cold tolerant, disease resistant, beautiful, and distinguish themselves from the sea of cultivars already out there. All that being said, I'd like to discuss a newer cultivar that I think is a "winner" and I'd like to hear from other growers/collectors about some cultivars that they feel are underutilized. By the way, by saying commercial appeal, I don't mean to be sold at Home Depot and Lowes, but rather commercial appeal to be sold at high-end garden centers or by In-the-know landscapers. Anyway, heres my winner pick:

    Acer palmatum 'Emerald Lace' - This is a winner cultivar for a variety of reasons that I'll list:
    1. Vigor - this tree grows like no other dissectum that I'm aware of. I used to think 'Green Hornet' and 'Orangeola' were tops in vigor, but this thing beats them both. It's not uncommon for our fresh grafts to push 3 feet of growth (1 meter) during the first year. The second flush of growth can also be 6-12 inches forming a nice branched liner the first year. This tree grows like Mark McGuire on steriods (US reference) or Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France (bad French reference-- sorry he he).

    2. Fine Leaf Dissection - There is a plethera of green dissectums out there that don't distinguish themselves much from one another. Lets see: viridis, waterfall, green mist, green hornet, germain's gyration, lemon chiffon, lemon lime lace, paucum/palmidifidum, spring delight, contourta, green spider, and 20 others that I can't think of off-hand. If we lose a tag on one of these in the nursery, it has to be sold as an unknown because most of these cultivars are nearly indistinguishable throughout 90% of the growing season (makes you wonder why they were introduced in the first place). Conversely, 'Emerald Lace' is immediately identifiable by its finely dissected leaf, which is nearly as fine as 'Red Filigree Lace'. The color is also excellent, starting out a nice yellowish green and quickly darkening to a dark emerald color.

    3. Hardiness - Most finely dissected cutleafs suffer in zones 6 and lower because of winter dieback. 'Red Filigree Lace' and 'Red Feathers' comes to mind here (they even suffer in parts of zone 7). But 'Emerald Lace' seems to tolerate at least zone 6 without problems. A friend/collector in northern NJ (zone 6) has a specimen that grows like a weed with minimal dieback after cold winters.

    4. Name - OK, this sounds silly, but for growers/retailers/landscapers, having a name like 'Paucum' or 'Germain's Gyration' for your green dissectum just isn't appealing or marketable. Now, 'Emerald Lace' that is a beautifully descriptive name. This is a minor point, but worth mentioning.

    Anyway, I hope others in the forum think about newer or underutilized cultivars that they feel should be more readily available. And, if you disagree with my assessment of 'Emerald Lace', let me know.

    Kindest regards,
  2. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southwest France
    Quite an enthusiastic assessment of 'Emerald lace'!
    I have many green dissectums but not that one, you've stirred my interest ;o)). It is quite common over here and proposed by many growers.

    One of my winner cultivars this year is 'Summer gold', for which I posted pictures and comments in the gallery.

    Next we should start a thread: 'greatest disappointments of the year'

  3. yweride

    yweride Active Member 10 Years

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    Portland, Oregon
    Good assessment Scion Swapper, i have to say green dissectums are not my favorite. But, 'Emerald Lace' is very nice.

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