'Tamukeyama' Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum dissectum 'Tamukeyama'
Named for a Japanese peak, 'Tamukeyama' can be translated as “hands folded in prayer upon the mountain,” and this maple’s lacey leaves are, indeed, many-fingered. A dwarf deciduous tree with foliage which opens scarlet, darkens to burgundy for most of the summer, and reverts to scarlet in autumn, 'Tamukeyama' stands out in almost any setting.
Hardy in zones 5-8 and growing only to about 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide, this Japanese maple bears clusters of small maroon flowers in mid-spring and red samaras (winged seed pods) in autumn. Its weeping habit makes it a good choice for planting in containers or atop walls, where its foliage can cascade, or near ponds or streams where its bright colors will dangle over—and be reflected in—the water.
Culture: Although Japanese maples will thrive in either full sun or partial shade in the north, they should receive only partial sunlight—preferably morning rather than afternoon rays—in the south. Too much sun there may cause the leaves to burn or the color of red maples to revert partially to green, though that greening may also be caused by too much shade.
Give the trees fertile, moist, well-drained, and slightly acidic soil, along with protection from strong winds, and a mulch to keep their roots cool. Their foliage can suffer from too frequent frosts in spring, but should recover by early summer. If you need to prune these maples, do so in late autumn or early winter, as the rising of their sap in spring would cause them to “bleed” then.
A highly appropriate addition to Asian or Zen gardens, Japanese maples also provide a distinctive accent of unusual foliage and color in other settings.