Top 5 Early Spring Interest Japanese Maples to Improve Your Backyard Decorum
Acer palmatum 'Katsura'
One of the earliest trees to leaf out in spring is the 'Katsura.' Its leaves burst out with stunning hues of orange and yellow, giving it a head start. Additionally, this tree is a robust grower, achieving a height of up to 15 feet in just 15 years. During midsummer, the leaves turn green, and by fall, they transform into a beautiful deep orange to red.
An excellent dwarf spreading Japanese maple, 'Kiyohime,' has small leaves with a beautiful purple-red border in early spring. The tree has a dense and multi-branched habit and grows much wider than tall. It may reach a height of 2-3 ft and width of 6-7 ft in 10 years. This tree is highly heat-tolerant and often referred to as ‘Kiyohime yatsubusa.’ During fall, its leaves turn bright red to deep maroon. 'Kiyohime' is a popular choice for containers and is frequently used in bonsai.
Acer palmatum 'Golden Falls'
Introducing the new weeping selection of Japanese maple called 'Golden Falls' with its stunning golden yellow foliage. This tree is a chance seedling from 'Ryusei', and like its parent, it has a heavily weeping habit that cascades from the point it is staked to. 'Golden Falls' can also crawl across the ground, creating a unique ground cover without staking. The picture of the 7-gallon tree shows the shape and color of this exceptional tree. It is advisable to provide 'Golden Falls' with morning sun and protection from hot afternoon sun. During fall, the leaves of 'Golden Falls' may turn orange to red, adding more vibrancy to its beauty.
Acer palmatum 'Firefly'
'Firefly' is a Japanese maple variety with stunning reticulated variegation. The tree boasts deep lime green veining, coupled with a bright fiery red color in the spring, making it stand out from other variegated maples. This variegated selection by Paul Holden of Harstein Island Nursery has a fairly upright habit with less spreading than other ghost-type variegated maples. During fall, 'Firefly' showcases bright fiery red leaves. In 10 years, 'Firefly' may grow up to 10-12 ft in height. For the best color, it is advisable to provide protection from the hot afternoon sun.
Acer palmatum 'Japanese Princess'
Introducing 'Japanese Princess,' an exquisite new pink dwarf variant of Mikawa yatsubusa developed by Talon Buchholz. During the leafing season, this dwarf tree displays varying shades ranging from hot pink to coral, depending on the year. As the season progresses, the color fades to green and then transforms to a bright red during fall. The layering habit of the tree gives it a unique texture, as shown in the photo below. Over the next 15 years, 'Japanese Princess' is expected to grow 3-4 ft in height.
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