What Acer shirasawanum to choose

Discussion in 'Maples' started by HoskinsGardener, Oct 21, 2022.

  1. HoskinsGardener

    HoskinsGardener New Member

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    I'm doing some major overhauling in my garden. Just moved in a year ago so looking to plant some foundational shrubs and trees as a starting point. I've fallen in love with Japanese Maples, inspired in part by the fabulous work of the Vancouver Japanese Gardeners Association out at YVR where they have redone Chester Johnson Park by the International arrivals area.

    When I was out at the nursery recently the "Full Moon" varieties particularly peaked my interest, but I'm having difficulty choosing which variety.
    • Acer Shirasawanum Aureum (Golden Full Moon)
    • Acer Shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon'
    • Acer Japonicum 'Aconitifolium (Fern Leaf Full Moon Maple)
    I think I prefer the more vibrant fall orange colors I have seen on photos of the Aureum. I love this photo, but have seen it listed on sites as both Aureum and Autumn moon...

    [​IMG]

    From the close up photos I've seen it looks like the Autumn Moon develops more of a patchy red and green color in fall without the vibrant orange. But I'm also a bit confused because everyone talks about the orange coloring the Autumn Moon develops, but the ones I have seen look more like chartreuse, with burnt orange or rust along the edges.

    The space I have in mind gets shade all morning with a few hours of afternoon sun. Sun can be pretty hot in the afternoon in Vancouver especially in recent years. I know it's the opposite conditions of what is recommended but hoping it will do okay with all the morning being fully shaded from huge cedars, and early evening being shaded by other tress. Also have irrigation to keep it well watered. Something with a more upright growth habit would be preferred.

    The other space I have available is all sun after 12:00pm so will try a Sango Kaku there.
     
  2. kbguess

    kbguess Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Both my Aureum and my Autumn Moon typically don't have much fall color
    I have a bit of red on my Aureum this year and this is the best I have seen in 9 years
    Aconitifolium almost always a very nice dark red fall color though
    009.JPG
    Auruem Fall 2022
     
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  3. dicky5ash

    dicky5ash Generous Contributor

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    Based upon the sun exposure you mention, I’d say Aconitifolium..totally amazing fall colours ..fast growing..I’d say this cultivar is a must! I would be concerned that the other 2 would cope with any afternoon sun
     
  4. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    First of all, welcome to the maples forum.
    Re your question, my thoughts are towards Aconitifolium or perhaps Vitifolium. Both handle the sun better than Aureum and Autumn Moon. Both of which can have a tendancy to just go brown in the Autumn without any colours, but that does depend on the previous week's of Summer and protection against hot afternoon sun.. As you say Vancouver is getting hotter, so unless you have some good PM shade, then perhaps avoid these two.
    As for Aconitifolium and Vitifolium, both handle the sun a lot better and give an excellent kaleidoscope of colours every October without fail. So my vote is the same as as @dicky5ash and @kbguess.
     
  5. HoskinsGardener

    HoskinsGardener New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback and warm welcome to the forums.

    Agree I think I prefer the more delicate and detailed foliage on the Aconitifolium over the large full leaves of the Vitifolium.

    Below are a couple more photos. The first shows the location where it will go circled in red once I clear out a bunch of that grass. The second two are the trees I saw out at the nursery this week (Cedar Rim). The leaves don’t look quite as dissected as some of the photos I have seen online but I think I actually prefer that. I am a bit nervous as I didn’t see a price on it but from what I gather they are a bit fast growing than Shirasawanum so hopefully not as expensive for a larger specimen. Any tips on what to look for when I am choosing one? Are they all grafted?

    Maybe I will try an Aureum over on the left under the canopy of the cedar at a later date when I clear out the green and yellow shrub (name is escaping me) and the pile of compost and stones hiding behind it.

    I’ll post another photo once I pickup the tree and plant it.

    upload_2022-10-22_8-28-46.jpeg

    upload_2022-10-22_8-29-20.jpeg

    upload_2022-10-22_8-32-23.jpeg
     
  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    The specimen you found at the nursery and in your photo will do very nicely in that position. But remember it will be green all Spring and Summer, so the contrasts with the other greenery around it will not be as it is in Autumn.
    An Aureum in the other corner would be nice. But if it gets a lot of protection in that position, how about Jordan. Lovely yellow leaf all Summer. Ok not such a vibrant Autumnal show, but never the less, quite an attraction all Summer when you are out in the garden.
    Re grafted maples, not all are, but if you are looking for a named cultivar then it will be grafted. (Atropurpureum for sale at nursery won't be btw).
    Just as a caveat, I have seen many beautiful seedlings over the years that would stand up against any cultivar, so of you find a 'strong' seedling for sale that you like, then don't be too hasty to say no to it.
     
  7. HoskinsGardener

    HoskinsGardener New Member

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    I suppose you’re right, the dark green foliage will get a bit lost back there. I did like the idea of some different colour foliage from Aureum or Autumn Moon.

    Perhaps I should consider a more traditional Acer Palmatum variety with Light Green or Chartreuse leaves.

    Sango Kaku would be a good choice too but I already settled on that for the front yard where it gets full sun all afternoon and would like some variety. Saw this beauty in the neighborhood this week.

    upload_2022-10-22_9-55-46.jpeg

    Or you can’t go wrong with a traditional red variety like Bloodgood or Emperor. So many trees, so little space!

    Here are some photos of the beautiful trees in the Japanese Garden at YVR I originally mentioned. Not the best lighting looking into the morning sun in the second photo.

    upload_2022-10-22_9-57-39.jpeg

    upload_2022-10-22_9-58-24.jpeg
     

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  8. wind-borne

    wind-borne Contributor

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    In full sun 'Autumn Moon' developed the orange colors with the new leaves in spring for me not fall.
    Pics cover 3 week span April-May
    04.23.17 04.07.58 PM.jpeg 05.03.17 08.50.52 AM.jpeg 05.14.17 10.41.21 AM.jpeg

    Good luck with whatever you try.
     
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