Acer palmatum 'Red Dragon'

Discussion in 'Acer palmatum cultivars (photos)' started by swanny, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. John Hosie

    John Hosie Active Member

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    You might also want to look for Red Brocade. It is perhaps the most delicate that I have ever seen. Mine is only a 2nd year graft right now, bought off eBay this spring. I have yet to get it through a winter. But I'm looking forward to seeing how it does.

    I have half a dozen different red dissectums. Red Dragon, Red Brocade, and Crimson Queen are the ones I can think of off hand. My Crimson Queen is easily 6-8 ft across, but only about 3 1/2 ft tall. Red Dragon and Crimson Queen are fairly close in appearance, so if you like one, the other one might make a good addition.

    For dissectums, though, by far my favorite is Toyama Nishiki. The leaves are lacy and deeply divided, with red, cream, pink, and green all over them to varying degrees. I've got two of them now - one a standard on a 2 ft trunk, and the other a graft at about 1 ft from the ground. They both are beautiful, and the only thing I really do is keep it in dappled shade, with morning sun, so the leaves don't burn.

    Try also Emerald Lace, Baby Lace, Chantilly Lace, Snowflake Lace, Berrima Bridge, and Lemon-Lime Lace. They each have their own unique characteristics. They are each spectacular in their own right. Again, the lacy leaves makes them vulnerable to burn, so avoid full sun after about 10:30 AM. They are great all lined up in a row. They are also all dwarf, so you can keep several even in a small yard - or even on a balcony.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  2. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    Brocade is nice but in my climate it is more of a red green tree and does not get the bright pop like the red dragon. Crimson Queen and Ever Red have the same color but do not have as natural good shape. You can see my Brocade in the Brocade thread. I do have all of the trees you mentioned and a few others.
     
  3. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    While I do like this cultivar, I would be interested in your observations behind why you'd put this "on the top of my list of red dissectums." Willing to give your reasons in support of this quote? I mean, there are lots of great red dissectums out there.
     
  4. amazingmaples

    amazingmaples Well-Known Member

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    It has as good of color as all the best, it does not bleach out with sun and most of all it has a very nice growing habit which keeps it in its place much better than others and it has minimual dead wood. In picture #2, the right most tree is the Red Dragon
     

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  5. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    My Red Dragon from Diana at Topiary Gardens - a little sparse right now, but I love the leaf color and shape. They remind me a little of my Filigree; more substance than a lot of dissectum leaves, yet still light and airy (if I could get a red/purple Filigree, I'd be in heaven!).

    How much is relative, I know, but in general, how much sun does this cultivar prefer? Does it really start to green out if in a significant amount of shade? Also, which branch would you pick to stake for the leader? I would like a little more height on it.
     

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  6. John Hosie

    John Hosie Active Member

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    Red Dragon are wonderful. I have 3 of them - 2 in the ground that have been there for about 15 years, and one in a pot that is about a 3 year graft. Those in the ground are in full sun. I have not really noticed significant greening of them. The one in a pot has been in a fairly well shaded part of our woods, but I've just pulled it out into a sunnier area. It looks like it greened a little in the shade.

    Spring Texture 3 - Red Dragon JM.JPG

    You mentioned light, airy leaves are what you're looking for. I have a Red Filigree. I got it on eBay last year, and it is now a 3 year graft. I am pretty sure that the seller was acer1987, and I know I've seen them pretty regularly. For something similar, but in green, you might consider Emerald Lace.

    Emerald Green JM 1.jpg

    Others with similar very fine lace JMs that she has include Baby Lace and Chantilly Lace, but my favorite of all has to be Toyama Nishiki. It is a variegated lace-leaf, with green,red, cream, and pink randomly placed on the leaves. Beautiful.

    DSCN0124.jpg

    Almost all lace-leaved JMs are weepers, so the only way to get them very tall is usually, as you suggest, to stake them. But I believe there is more to it than just plain staking. A lot has to do with what shape you want it to take on, and how long you're willing to wait for it. I have an older Crimson Queen - about 20 years. She is is in full sun, and has spread way out. Well, I've staked it up from the center, so instead of a 3.5-4 ft mushroom, it now has a an upper tier. It looks a little odd right now, but is starting to fill out, so I'll probably end up with a massive 6 foot Crimson Queen with two tiers (unless I go for another round of staking even higher).

    When it comes to selecting which branch to stake, yours is small enough so whatever branch you choose should be able to do pretty well. I'd probably select the longest, strongest branch you can find. Don't worry too much about whether it is straight to start with. You can work on straightening it over time if you like, but I like the looks of twisted, gnarled branches in the winter - which is pretty much the only time you will really see what it looks like underneath.

    My cats love hanging out under these trees. They can lie down and survey a wide area without being seen, so then tend to bring in a chipmonk now and then...not what we'd like, but a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
     
  7. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Baby Lace and Chantilly Lace are two dissectums I would like to add to my collection, and I recently received a very nice Hana matoi for my birthday from my hubby. :) I bought the Red Dragon to replace a Crimson Queen that I lost this spring :( I was really disappointed too, since I was planning to use it as a bonsai - it had naturally grown in a beautiful cascade style, and just needed a very little bit of minor tweaking to refine it, then needed to fill out. I would love to see pictures of your Crimson Queen, how the trunk flows, and how it looks with the start of a second tier - I'm quite intrigued.

    I wish the Red Dragon was grafted a little lower, as I do like when the trunk curves and twists more naturally and organically instead of how it's so straight when grafted on a standard - it just gives the tree so much more character and interest (especially in winter), but of course doing it that way takes much more time to get a a tree of any substantial size.
     

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  8. John Hosie

    John Hosie Active Member

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    I have found there are two great places for picking up JMs, both dissectum and otherwise. First of all, eBay has some great one and two year grafts running about $10 each as a starting point for bidding. You also pay shipping - also under $10. And if you get more than one at a time, the seller will often charge less for additional trees. These are especially good if you want to turn them into Bonsai. Doing so is always a risk. But you don't risk as much if you don't spend so much on each tree.

    The second may surprise you. Go to the local nurseries, garden centers, Home Depot, etc. I found one nursery this year was selling off JMs that had leafed out early, and then were burned by a late frost. So because the leaves had brown spots, I was picking up $30 trees (small, I know) for $7.99. That was better than eBay - and instead of coming in one of these grower's "tubes", they were in nice gallon pots. So I managed to get about half a dozen when I found them... There were generic reds - both dissectum and not. Home Depot seems to also have one of the local stores as a consolidation place for overstocked items - and in the fall you can go in there and get some very nice trees very cheap.
     
  9. ichoudhury

    ichoudhury Member

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    My Red Dragon had exceptional color this year. I did something somewhat scary after watching a youtube channel. This Gentleman from Florida defoliating his Maple right after July 4th and forcing two season on his Maple. Me being in Georgia, I wasn't sure if that was a good idea, and quite by impulse, defoliated my Maple which was heavily pruned the same year defoliated around end of July. So when it was nearly end of August and no new growth, I was afraid I killed my long time friend (I got it as a graft several years ago), and if I didn't kill it, it would have a new growth and tender leaves will meet the frost we get here defenseless. I started to water it twice everyday. Anyway, I am so impressed with the outcome, I plan to do that next year as well :) ... The Tree looked Healthy, no leaf burn, and interestingly a lot of growth.
     

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  10. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    I would advise NOT doing this, at least not next year. Defoliating a tree - and it only works with some, not all - is a method used by many bonsai people on their deciduous trees to help reduce leaf size, therefore making them more in proportion to the overall size of the tree. There are other reasons too, but this is a big one. Anyway, typically this is only done on trees with mature wood (ie, not young trees with green branches and stems; you want the wood to be fairly, well, woody), and then only every other year at most. Of course maples have two sets of leaves, and naturally go through a second growth spurt later in the season, but to force a tree to put out a totally new, full set of leaves for a second time is very stressful on it, and should only be done on 'mature' trees, as mentioned above, and on trees that are thriving and very healthy. A tree that is already under stress for some reason or another could likely die, have die-back issues, or do very poorly the following year. Just a word of caution and some advice. :)
     
  11. mapledia

    mapledia Active Member

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    I haven't ever done this intentionally, defoliating a tree, but my neighborhood deer have done this. While my defoliated trees have come back, often with vivid colors, I've noticed that those trees defoliated by deer two years in a row usually die back badly and sometimes die. This has to be stressful for the cultivar, so if you do it, do it sparingly.
     
  12. ichoudhury

    ichoudhury Member

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    Thank you for the great feedback. I guess I will skip the defoliation but plan to prune somewhat to transform the Broom shape that I started working on since last Spring.
     
  13. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    So pretty, I really like this cultivar, and seems to withstand our horrendous summers fairly well.
     

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  14. mattlwfowler

    mattlwfowler Active Member Maple Society

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    It is certainly a bit more sensitive to hot drying winds in the summer here than Tamukeyama and maybe even Crimson queen, but it does hold its color much better even in the shade.
     
  15. ichoudhury

    ichoudhury Member

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    Re: How to train your dragon


    Since then, I did a major pruning and this is how she looks today, I am thinking of taking out most of the inner branches (in between larger ones). What do you think?

    (Oh yeah, it snowed here again in Georgia)
     

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  16. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Re: How to train your dragon

    Looks like you did a great job, structure looks much better. And the snow is a very flattering look for a winter dissectum!

    Personally, at this stage of life I would only go for minimal pruning: Dead twigs and anything growing in a majorly wrong direction, or where two branches are obviously competing for the same space and you have an aesthetic preference for one branch over the other. Inner twigs and branches are to some extent self pruning, in that the tree will shut them down when no longer needed and when dead they can easily be snapped off.
     
  17. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    So glad this one made the move from KS to Al without any issues.
     

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  18. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    What a lovely bright red dissectum this one is. I have it next to a Hosta White feather and the contrast is just wonderful.
     

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  19. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    Another photo of this stunning red dissectum, this time in July. I cannot reccomend this cultivar enough for its glorious form and reds.
     

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  20. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    I've just been asked what dissectum stays red the longest, there are two in my garden and Red Dragon is one and the other is Crimson Queen.
    Photo 16th July 2020
     

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  21. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    This is lovely in cloud or sun, but look at it in the Summer rain !!
    You decide!!??
     

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  22. Acerholic

    Acerholic Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    August 6th 2020 and extreme heat is forecast over the next few days, so I thought I would post photos of my dissectums before and after to show how they cope. This I feel can be useful for people considering buying a particular variety.
     

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