Acer palmatum 'Aratama'

Discussion in 'Acer palmatum cultivars (photos)' started by Elmore, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    Here is Acer palmatum 'Aratama'. A red leaved dwarf that may reach as much as a meter and a half in 10 years. The name 'Aratama' means "uncut gem". This one was just potted up after making a trip from NY to Dixie. It made the trip fairly well considering the heat on 5-17-05 and it was packaged up in a cardboard box for more than two days in such heat.
     

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    LoverOfMaples likes this.
  2. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Here is a series of photos of Aratama that spans March to the end of July. It is always one of the first cultivars to leaf out in the spring and is surprisingly tolerant of late frosts. Additionally, Aratama will handle sun well, although this tree is quite protected from direct exposure.

    When shaded, the red of spring will fade to green, but the new growth is always outstanding. I will put this tree at the top of any list as one of my favorite plants! It is a solid dwarf that is very hardy and responds well to pruning. It has great multi-seasonal interest--a very changeful tree.

    The color transition will be from a medium red when it leafs out in spring to a deep plum color a few weeks later. The red then returns and as summer approaches the green undertones come through. The tree in the photo is probably 6-7 years old.
     

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  3. yweride

    yweride Active Member 10 Years

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    Here is a nice sized plant, photos taken 8/30/05
     

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  4. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    MJH, from our Fjellheim comments we have similar likes because I agree entirely that
    Aratama is spectacular. I have one 4+ feet tall & wide in full sun that is my most
    intense red in Spring. It diminishes in intensity after Spring and even now on October 2
    the plant is reddish. I love this plant so much I bought another one. Much literature
    says Aratama is a witches broom and like my Fjellheim comment, I collect witches
    brooms. In conclusion, we are both "Mike"'s and my initials are MHJ.
     
  5. yweride

    yweride Active Member 10 Years

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    new leaves just opening.
     

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  6. krautz33

    krautz33 Active Member 10 Years

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    Spring color
     

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  7. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    As has been stated, this is a most desirable cultivar with rich reds in the spring and bright contrasting veins. It's a keeper.
     

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  8. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Sam at Eastfork nursery sold me a great Aratama this past spring. It is now pushing a flush of summer growth. The shortened center lobe is a curious characteristic.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 18, 2007
  9. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    This is a great cultivar with wonderful spring and summer color (don't know about fall color yet). This photo was taken 7/10/07.
     

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  10. benishien

    benishien Active Member Maple Society

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    IMine died and this is all that I have left. It leafed out to early last year and bit the dust do to the winter weather we were having on the island.
     

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  11. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Last edited: May 4, 2008
  12. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    I agree with you, Gil! Aratama is a stunner. It lights up wherever I
    have it because it is an early full leafer and it is ablaze in red. I would
    say my Aratamas get the most comment in the very early Spring of any
    of the maples in my yard. It is breath taking.
     
  13. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    It would seem that we're all agreed that this is an outstanding cultivar. I'm especially impressed by the vivid colors throughout the growing season. So often something that's great in spring or summer just fades out in the fall, but that's not the case for Aratama. This photo was taken October 17, 2007 and shows the variety of intense autumnhues. This plant never disappoints.
     

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  14. dawgie

    dawgie Active Member 10 Years

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    The shortened center lobe is very characteristic of JM varieties that came from witch's brooms, which apparently Aratama did. My Shaina (which is similar to Aratama) has very similar leaves, as do other other witch's broom varieties such as Skeeter's Broom, Tiny Tim, Kandy Kitchen, and so on.
     
  15. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Very interesting, thanks Dawgie. After observing it on 'Aratama' I have noticed it on a few others. I had not put it together with the witch's brooms
     
  16. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

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    I like to collect witches brooms. Not all WB's have the shortened center lobe like
    Baby Lace and Fjellheim but both of those and many WB's have very close branch
    internoding which along with a shortened center lobe are signatures of WB's though
    neither by itself is sufficient and necessary. Skeeters broom is an example of rangy
    (not very close) internoding with the signature shortened center lobe. With the exception of the IPPS 1992 artticle by the late Richard Wolff, I can find nothing serious in the English literature on WB's. If anyone knows other articles, please let me know.
    Thank you.
     
  17. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Katsura,

    Thanks for sharing that info.

    I noticed another reference to WB's reading through this ebay listing. I grow 2 excellent JMs from that vendor.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  18. James M

    James M Member

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    Spring foliage April 2009
     

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  19. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Beautiful, James!

    Here's mine (still leafing out) as of April 09
     

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  20. luciley

    luciley Member

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    In the comments about Aratama, I see nothing about the scion overgrowth which I find most disconcerting. I am wondering about using shirasewanum as understock instead of palmatum. Any ideas?
     
  21. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I've been told that this cultivar is a pain in the nether regions to propagate - as I recall the tree's small diameter brittle twig characteristics were cited as the culprits. I happen to think this cultivar is so beautiful it's worth the ouch. But I've never done the work, so how can I chime in on the reword/work relationship?

    Here's what I've been wondering...

    1. Airlayering - has anyone tried to airlayer this cultivar? If so, how'd it work out for you?
    2. Bonsai artists - I know that there are some wild techniques out there now but not very much about them. I believe I read a Bonsai artists referencing acid as a way of enlarging the root crown. So, anybody out there played with advanced techniques for expanding the root crown on the understock of an Aratama to catch it up?
    3. IF Aratama responds to airlayering would it be possible to take a mature Aratama and basically air layer the whole tree and then just not lop off the primary rootstock? In other words, what would happen if you cut the tree just slightly above the graft and slapped it with rooting hormone and then did what we're all told never to do - bury the crown of the rootstock? Would the Aratama portion grow a new root crown while retaining the benefits of the understock's root system?
     
  22. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Re air layering: I read somewhere that, unlike other dwarf Japanese maples, the witches' broom types do not do well on their own roots. I was going to try to air layer a couple of my brooms this past summer, but after reading that I didn't bother. I don't know if it is true, but if you think of how witches' brooms originally occur as mutations on existing trees it seems logical enough - the original plant didn't have its own roots.

    It would be very interesting to hear from anyone who has tried to air layer 'Aratama' or similar cultivars in order to verify the above.

    I agree that the scion overgrowth is disconcerting. Since noticing it on my own tree ('Shaina', ten-plus years old and healthy), I have observed it on all examples of 'Aratama' and 'Shaina' I have seen for sale at various nurseries. I wonder if there are increased chances of failure later in life, or if it just looks odd but is otherwise perfectly healthy?
     
  23. luciley

    luciley Member

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    I think it is just a cosmetic problem as I have some old ugly unions in my scion block, but as a nurseryperson who sells these plants, I don't think the trees are marketable with the overgrowth. That's why I was asking about using shirasewanum. I know many people graft circinatum scions onto palmatum which is a guaranteed horror, but at least that can be obviated by using circinatum understock (albeit with a reduced take). But of course some people (the bonsai guys) absolutely can't stand the overgrowth. I have a nursery friend who is grafting literally at the soil line for the bonsai people, but that is too hard for me.
     
  24. winterhaven

    winterhaven Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    One of my favorite cultivars.
     

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  25. rwinktown

    rwinktown Active Member

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    mine is pushing, ill post pics when the leaves broaden a bit!
     

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