Friday, January 21, 2011

Acer palmatum - the Dissectums

I guess I'm in my winter lazy time. Really cold here today despite gorgeous blue skies and abundant sunshine. It shouldn't be allowed to be this cold when it looks so nice outside. I expect it to be close to zero tonight.

I thought I'd divide the Japanese Maples into 2 groups; today the dissectums - those with very lacy, divided leaves. Some of these are hard to photograph as their leaves are so lacy. I hope you can get a good idea of what they look like anyway. I find them quite beautiful and not nearly so delicate as they look.
Japanese Maples, in general, are hardy down to zone 6. Colder than that and they may not survive the winter. I always recommend the species maples, those on their own roots as opposed to the grafted types for those in colder zones, so that if you do get die-back, the plant has a chance to regrow in the spring from the roots which will probably survive.

This first picture is of 'Garnet'. It's not a new cultivar and is quite dependable. When grown in too much shade, it might get a bit of green in the leaves, so be sure it gets some sun. It was originated in the Netherlands.

Our next photo is of 'Goshiki shidare'. The leaves are usually a deep green with red overtones. The color can be quite variable and is somewhat dependent on the amount of sun.

And this is the new spring growth on 'Goshiki Shidare'. It's a shame it doesn't last longer.
One of our more lacy cultivars is this 'Red Dragon'. Anything lacier than this, I don't have a picture of because the leaves just sort of disappear into the background. 'Red Filagree Lace' would be one of those. They show up fine in person, but photographs are just plain difficult. Even this one is kind of hard to see.
Acer palmatum dissectum 'Seiryu' is rather unusual in that it is an upright form. Most all of the others are rather weeping in shape. The leaves are a bright green and the fall color is a mix of yellows, oranges, reds and any shade in between. Ours grows in quite dense shade. This cultivar is slow growing, maybe reaching 12 feet tall in 20 years.
And the spring color on Seriyu is almost as nice as the fall color.
So this is just a sampling of the dissectums. Next time I'll share just a few of my favorites among the 50 or so Japanese Maples that grow here in our gardens.
Stay warm.

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