Friday, January 1, 2010

Coral Bark Maple Blazes in the Winter Landscape

Sango kaku Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango kaku') has light green summer foliage on a fairly upright branches. In the fall, foliage turns yellow-gold with some light tints of red, otherwise a very ordinary tree. It's in the fall and winter seasons when this 20-25 foot ornate maple excels. The green branches and twigs turn bright coral red, aglow in the winter sun. Sango kaku makes a beautiful addition to any landscape in USDA zones 6-7.

Sango kaku prefers 1/2 day of sun, preferably in the morning and early afternoon hours. New spring growth is thin and rank, the tree needing pruning annually to maintain a good tree form. A colder than normal winter often results in twig dieback, requiring minor cleanup pruning cuts in the spring.

'Beni kawa' is another Japanese maple with exquisite salmon colored bark beginning in late fall-winter. It appears to possess better cold and heat tolerance. Tree height is alot smaller, perhaps only 10-12 feet tall at maturity. Growth on Beni kawa is not as spindly and less prone to winter twig dieback. Beni kawa leafs out 2 weeks later than Sango kaku, avoiding spring freeze injury.

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