Purple/red Acer for north side of house?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by kaspian, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm trying to choose an upright, fairly large-growing Acer for a prominent spot near my front door on the north side of the house on the coast of Maine. Surrounding foliage is mostly pale or yellowish green, and the backdrop is a weathered, rustic wooden wall, so I was thinking a good strong red/purple would bring the composition together.

    These are the varieties I'm looking at right now (partly because they happen to be readily available from an East Coast supplier): Yezo nishiki, Tsukushi gata, and Nuresagi. I'm open to other ideas. Good winter form would be a nice bonus, since we have about 13 months of winter here.

    I appreciate any thoughts you may have. (Also, I apologize for posting this question twice. My first post was apparently moved to a different forum, where I fear it won't be noticed by Acer connoisseurs. Apparently I spent too much time describing the overall situation, so that the post looked like a design question and not a maple question.) THIS IS A MAPLE QUESTION. Thanks.
     
  2. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    why not Sango Kaku?or Pensylvaticum Erytrhocladum, bark red in winter,big size,good autum coulor
     
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes, sorry about that - I see that now. As it stands, though, I glance through 200 to 400 posts / day. I didn't see the keyword Acer or maple in the first couple paragraphs or thread title, so moved it to that area. Looks like I should have read the third paragraph where maple cultivars were listed. The other thread's been deleted (it had no replies).
     
  4. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Kasp,

    Are you zone 6?

    'Red dawn'
    is a sweet shirasawanum. Might be a bit more sturdy if you've got hardiness concerns with palmatums. The three you mention are definite beauties also consider 'Sumi nagashi', 'Shojo' and also maybe 'Trompenberg'

    Gil
     
  5. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks for all these thoughts. Here are a few more details (and the reason I'm thinking of a red/purple variety).

    I'm in the warmer part of Zone 5, near the ocean in Maine, where summers are short and cool, often with an on-shore breeze. The exposure is sheltered, north-facing, with direct sun only in early morning but bright indirect light (including reflected ocean light) all day. Soil is gritty, nutrient-poor, with sharp drainage. No backlighting is possible: the backdrop is a weathered board-and-batten wall.

    Surrounding plants are green to yellow-green: a bamboo (Fargesia robusta), climbing hydrangea, ninebark (Physocarpus 'Dart's Gold'), mountain laurel, ivy 'Baltica,' English boxwood, and a variegated groundcover bamboo, Sasa masamuniana 'Albo-striata.' About 20 feet away is A. shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon.'

    This isn't specifically a Japanese garden, but the influence is clearly there, and is strongly suggested by the landscape itself.

    The tree will be more or less smack in the middle of this grouping. I'd like an upright form that can vertically dominate the composition, and a strong color that will break the monotony of the greens (and make the yellow-green ninebark pop out). My first thought was a purple-leaved Cotinus, but that didn't get enough sun or warmth to thrive, so I'm takiing the plunge into A. palmatum -- a new frontier for me.

    Is 'Purple Ghost' a tenable possibility?

    I appreciate and admire all the expertise around here. This forum has been quite rewarding to browse through.
     
  6. dawgie

    dawgie Active Member 10 Years

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    There are many varieties of Japanese maples with red/purple leaves. I would focus on varieties known for their winter hardiness, despite your coastal location. Bloodgood and Emperor are supposed to be hardier than most. Not sure about Beni otake, but it is one of my favorite upright reds. Common name is red bamboo because of its bamboo-like appearance. You might also look at Johin, which is an Acer palmatum x A. shirawasanum hybrid and possibly more harder. It has "full moon" style leaves.
     
  7. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Kaspian, I don't think Ghosts will be tough enough. I also think pensylvaticum will not have a warm enough summer for the wood to ripen, with respect to Alex. I agree that you should focus on hardiness, for this reason I might lean towards Bloodgood also.

    I've spent much time on the coast of Maine, it's beautiful in the summer but probably borderline for Japanese maples... Your spot sounds like a frost pocket, but of course if you do manage to establish a palmatum there it won't be leafing out very early.

    Good luck,

    -E
     
  8. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    This issue of hardiness is always vexing here, and unfortunately -- in the case of uncommon plants -- you often just have to try the plant yourself, on your site, and see what happens. There are so many local microclimates because of the water and the mountains (there's a small range called the Camden Hills less than a mile inland from where I live, which seems to create a sort of warm pocket right along the coast). My last garden, about 5 miles inland and in a little valley by a pond, definitely was in a frost pocket, but things seem much more clement in my new place, which is on a hill about 1/4 mile from the ocean. On the other hand it never seems to get really warm here.

    On a more positive note ... according to "The Trees of North America" by Alan Mitchell, Maine is within the native range of Acer pensylvaticum, which extends north to Quebec and east to Nova Scotia. Which isn't to say, of course, that the variety 'Erytrhocladum' would necessarily do well here. But I'll definitely try this, maybe next year -- and thanks for the idea!
     
  9. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Emery is rigth Pensylvanicum ,is a bad idea,sorry,is for zone 6 Sanko kaku too;
    only good choise for zone 5 is one cultivar of Platanoides, Pesudoplatunus,Rubrum,Rufinerve,Saccharinum,Saccarum;this species have many cultivar,and size ex.Rubrum "Candide ice "is variegated (see pics in gallery);according to"Maples for the Garden" by Timber press,not exist Jm for zone 5....
     
  10. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    if you buy Erythrocladum buy small size and in winter covered for first and second years the soil near the trunk with mature cow or hourse fertilize,the hair with white cloth and very good dreinage in the hole with vulcan stone. Ciao
     
  11. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Kaspian, I know Camden pretty well, we had a house in Hancock when I was growing up. Still have a lot of family there, I'll be visiting to celebrate my Aunt's 90th this summer.

    I feel sure a platanoides like Fassan's Black would give you the effect if pollarded; otherwise it would quickly get too big. This tree has the added advantage of beautifully contrasting yellow flowers in spring. I suppose you could also keep it small by root pruning every couple of years, but that's too much digging for me. Not to mention finding a time when it doesn't have leaves but the ground isn't frozen.

    If Autumn Moon is happy, I guess A. shirasawanum 'Gloria' would fit the bill: a small, upright purple tree, perhaps a palmatum hybrid.

    If you are willing to look at a dark green leaf, my sister grows A. griseum in Gouldsboro, so that would work, and give a lot of winter interest. A. mandshuricum is zone 4, and a nice tree. (Mine leafs out too early and then freezes here, but I think that's because we lack a real winter.) Both have good fall color.

    I really think pensylvaticum will want a hotter-than-coastal summer, but you can always give it a try. (FWIW I've never observed this growing wild along the coast, I wonder if it's more western Maine.)

    -E
     
  12. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm really grateful for all these suggestions. I can see how I'll be spending the next couple of years in my garden. And also where all that annoying disposable income is going.

    I find myself, these past couple of days, strolling around the yard (it's actually just a clearing slashed in the forest by the construction crew) contemplating what sort of maple would go nicely here and there and everywhere. Climate aside, the landscape looks just perfect for this kind of planting, complete with tall (i.e. 40-50 feet) red maples, sugar maples, red oaks, white pines and red spruces, with a mostly open understory, except for the plants I've introduced and assorted native ground covers. I'm kind of psyched about this now.
     
  13. dawgie

    dawgie Active Member 10 Years

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    Also check out Paperbark maple, Acer griseum. It should be hardier than JMs and has interest in various seasons with some of the prettiest bark of any tree.
     

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