Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple – Acer palmatum

Japanese Maples are native to Japan, China, Korea, eastern Mongolia, and southeast Russia.  In other words, they don’t hail from these parts.  Many different cultivars of this maple have been selected and they are grown worldwide for their large variety of attractive forms, leaf shapes, and spectacular colors. [1]


Example of leaf variation among various cultivars of Japanese maple. (image by Abrahami)

Japanese Maples have been cultivated in Japan for centuries and in temperate areas around the world since the 1800s. The first specimen of the tree reached England in 1820. [1]

Japanese Maple Trunl

The trunk of a 50-year old Japanese Maple

Slow growing and usually small, some Japanese Maples can achieve a relatively large size as as represented in the champion chart below.  We have beautiful specimens and different cultivars here in Peachtree Park, some of which are quite old.

Some tolerate sun, but most prefer part shade, especially in hotter climates. Almost all are adaptable and blend well with companion plants.  The trees are particularly suitable for borders and ornamental paths because the root systems are compact and not invasive. [1]

If space is not a constraint, no pruning is necessary except to remove any dead branches. Trees naturally self-prune foliage that doesn’t receive enough light, such as internal branches which are overly shaded by its own canopy. [1]

Identification and Description

Japanese Maple Leaves

Japanese Maple Leaves

A Japanese Maple may have multiple trunks joining close to the ground. It’s often shaped like a hemisphere (especially when younger) or takes on a dome-like form, especially when mature. The leaves are 4–12 cm long and wide with five, seven, or nine acutely pointed lobes. The flowers are produced in small clusters, the individual flowers with five red or purple sepals and five whitish petals. [1]

Adapted to Georgia hardiness zones:      6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b.      Atlanta is zone 7b [1]

Champion Japanese Maple Trees in Atlanta and Georgia


Atlanta Champion Trees – full list
Georgia Champion Trees – full list
Intown Hawk – Condensed Atlanta and Georgia List

References and Additional Information

[1]  Wikipedia: Acer palmatum