Why is my "bloodgood" turning green?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Tamara, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. Tamara

    Tamara Member

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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Please help. I have read through some of the posts and replies, but my question is specific to my acer palmatum "bloodgood".

    I am in Toronto, Ontario. Zone 5a-b. The tree is on my front lawn, facing south.
    When I bought and planted it mid June it was the "usual" red. The leaves are now more brownish green than red and many have white spots on them. Some have white rimmed holes.


  2. Acer palmatum 'Crazy'

    Acer palmatum 'Crazy' Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hoschton, Ga Z7
    Hi Tamara,

    Bloodgood's can turna green/bronze especially how true to Bloodggod they are. Some can be grafted from more of a 'Bloodgood seedling which may not stay as red. Down south here we really have a problem, strong sun and high temps can cause the sugars to affect color. I wouldnt have thought your location would have quite a bad problem, but adding in transplant shock the tree may be just adjusting a little.
    I have a 'Bloodgood' that looks like it has been thru war. Between japanese beetles and the sun/heat, and transplanting it has taken a beating. As long as the leaveare not just drooping off, you are propably just fine. Just keep steady water and maybe no fertilizer til next spring.
    Other like mr.shep might be able to tell you if you have any bug/fungus, etc proplems. There are others experienced with that.

    But I think you are fine.

  3. Same broblem in the UK

    I'm suffering from teh same problem here in England.

    We have had a lot of sun recently and the tree seem to be going green and the leaves drying and going brown.

    I have put it down to the strong sun and hope it recovers.
  4. Tamara

    Tamara Member

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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks so much for your reply. Hopefully it will turn around. There is a gorgeous bloodgood on my street that was put in about a year ago so is more established. Here's to hoping mine will look like its neighbour in another year!

  5. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Hi Tamara:

    What Mike wrote is basically what does go on with Bloodgood
    in a warmer climate. Our large tree always changes to a bronze
    color during the warmer months. Once the evening temperatures
    start to cool off the Maple's leaves will again have some red in
    them and will later develop darker red tones again in the Fall.
    Even where you are located you can see Bloodgood change
    from a red to a bronze-yellow-green color combination during
    the Summer. We can maintain the red color throughout the
    Summer with applications of fertilizer but there is a price to
    pay for fertilizing in that we risk giving the Maple too much
    Nitrogen which can lead to a lot of leaf burn, excessive dieback
    in our twigs and branches and subsequent death of the tree if
    we misapply the fertilizer or do no water in the fertilizer well
    and often. If we must fertilize our Maples now we should use
    a liquid fertilizer rather than a commercial granulated fertilizer
    or a timed released gelatin or water insoluble capsule containing
    Nitrogen. I would suggest that you give your Maple some
    granulated 0-10-10 in October to help protect the root system
    before the onset of Winter. Once the Maple is leafing out in the
    Spring that time frame is generally regarded as the recommended
    time to fertilize your Maple with Nitrogen.

    Another thing to keep in mind and posts in other threads by
    myself and others will bare this out, is that many of our
    Bloodgoods sold through our nurseries and elsewhere are
    probably more appropriately named Bloodgood type. It is
    rare to find the "old" Bloodgood available for sale any more.
    Many of today's Bloodgoods in the nursery trade are, in many
    cases, actually grafted seedlings that originated from collected
    seed from a Bloodgood and then germinated as seedlings and
    then subsequently grafted. It is also true in some cases that
    Bloodgood grafts from the original plant can also show a color
    variance unlike its parent. In other words a young Bloodgood
    graft may not be the same color as its parent is which also adds
    to the confusion regarding the Bloodgood Maple

  6. Tamara

    Tamara Member

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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks Jim - this is all very helpful and interesting - especially since I'm such a "newbie gardener" Tamara
  7. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Northern Ireland
    I always thought that green undertones to Bloodgood was quite a 'normal' occurence(if there is such a thing as 'normal' with Japanese maples)
    Certainly over here in our more temperate climate I get green undertones to Bloodgood, and especially to Okagami. To me, it is these incessant changes of colouration throughout the growing season which make these plants my personal favourites
    Personally, I never fertilise my Japanese maples, being of the belief that this will simply exaggerate growth and make the plants 'leggy' . They grow a much better shape left to their own devices. I also seem to remember that fertliser is not generally recommended for the plants by Vertrees, for example.
    I could be mistaken, given my memory lapses :)
  8. True-to-name 'Bloodgood' has good color retention. Plants that do not remain dark through the whole season should be regarded with suspicion. Stock that seems correct is easily found in nurseries up here (as well as batches of mixed seedlings being offered incorrectly as 'Bloodgood') so I do not think the cultivar is anywhere near being extinct in commerce, unless we have lookalikes that aren't actually the original clone.

    Habit, leaf shape and fruit color of 'Bloodgood' form a fairly distinctive combination that can be used to check identification of a given specimen. See photos and descriptions in the van Gelderen's MAPLES FOR GARDENS, Vertrees' JAPANESE MAPLES.
  9. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    North Alabama USA

    Where is "up here"?
  10. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    North Alabama USA
    Bloodgood in deep shade

    "Habit, leaf shape and fruit color of 'Bloodgood' form a fairly distinctive combination that can be used to check identification of a given specimen."

    Here is a photo that I made late this afternoon, 8-27-04, of a containerized 'Bloodgood' that I have been holding in pretty deep shade. Actually a photo of it's leaves. In person it has a much redder tone than what the image shows but it has essentially greened out due to the dense shade it is in. Notice the leaf shape.

    Attached Files:

  11. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    Bloodgood in Sun

    To balance Elmore's Bloodgood in shade. As Jim describes, a Bloodgood in adequate sun should hold its red color well. A tree in a hotter summer climate with a lot of direct sun (this tree with southern exposure and sun until midafternoon) will exhibit the red/yellow bronzing and will return to the deeper red a tone if the leaves don't burn first. This tree has been subject to a number of weeks near/over 100 degrees, but gets daily landscape watering.
    A Bloodgood that doesn't regularly hold its color well in adequate sun, should be held suspect as to its true origin.
    This is the best my tree has looked since its planting 3 years ago.

    Tree location: Southern Oregon, picture August 04

    Attached Files:

  12. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Michael's picture of his Bloodgood is what our
    old plant in the ground looks like. The red tones
    never do completely leave the tree in a warm
    climate. The thing that we have found interesting
    is that the interior color of the leaf shows the
    damage due to heat much more so than us having
    to experience leaf burn. With ample watering
    during the hot Summer our trees do not scorch.
    We may see some burning on the tips of the leaves
    but we never see leaves become fried. Another
    cultivar I've always been impressed with is Oregon
    Sunset. It holds it color very well for us also and
    never shows us much green in the leaf. Oregon
    Sunset also does not have much leaf scorch as
    long as we have ample moisture to the plant.

    In reply to one particular post, true Bloodgoods
    in cooler climates with full sun will keep their
    red longer than ours will here. Ours never really
    do turn green, even grown in shade. Even in a
    50% shade saran house the Maples are still red
    and then turn a bronzish red during the Summer.
    I was remiss not to mention bronzish red in my
    former post as it is rather important.

    What some people have to take into consideration
    is that 2 cultivars that were touted as being new
    and improved Bloodgoods back in the middle to
    late 80's will turn green for us in a warm climate.
    We see them come out of Oregon a strong purplish
    red (when are Bloodgoods a purple red?) but once
    they are in the ground here the purple red disappears.
    Even Moonfire here never develops the strong purple
    tones once it has been subjected to our heat The
    difference with the improved Bloodgoods and
    Moonfire than our old forms of Bloodgood is that
    Bloodgood does not produce green in the interior
    of the leaf. As what Michael showed with his
    Maple, the color is more of a bronzy red but the
    leaf is still predominately red in color. Bloodgood
    turns that bronzish red after a month or two of
    intense, dry heat. Notice the size of the leaves
    of Michael's plant, in cooler climates you do
    not get the size of leaf that we get. As Michael
    will soon find out that the leaves on his Maple
    will be larger in size than a Bloodgood will be
    in Eugene for example. Also, the bronzish
    yellow that you see on Michael's Maple is
    nothing more than the effect of sunburning.
    We called it "pleaching" of the leaf. Only
    Bloodgood, Oregon Sunset and the old and
    seldom ever seen dissectum Red Head hold
    their color as well for us during the hot, dry
    portions of the Summer.

  13. swanny

    swanny Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Roanoke, VA
    Additional Bloodgood Pictures

    I have attached two additional pictures of my "Bloodgood", planted last year in Roanoke, VA, zone 7, elevation 1,100 feet. This tree is in the front yard facing East and receives direct sunlight from sunrise until late afternoon. It has faded very little from its previously deep red color last April. These two pictures were taken today at 1:30. We have received very little rain over the last 2 weeks, but I water the tree every few days. I am also attaching two photos, taken about 1/2 hour later, of my "Moonfire" planted approx 80 feet from the "Bloodgood" with the same general sun exposure. The "Moonfire" always has much more purple leaves.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 28, 2004
  14. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    Bloodgood Geography

    I would like to add to Jim's notes, that the tree I posted as Bloodgood, in its current location, is always red, and when it is not red, it is bronzed due to heat. If I was to describe green in this tree, it would be a Yellow-green or pale green as Jim describes "pleaching." Even on the interior of the tree you will not find the dark green undertones that are common on "red" leaved cultivars. The deep green undertones seen in Fireglow, Moonfire, Emporor I, ect. are not seen in this specimen to any real or extensive degree.

    Until reading what Jim had to say, I never really differentiated the Red/yellow combination from the Red/Green/Purple combination that is so very common. Whether it is climate related, or whether in hints at the existence of multiple "forms" of Bloodgood, is is easy to appreciate the difference--a color combination that is very uncommon, and holds the line between hydrated and burned, as most of my other red cultivars in this exposure progress to a bruned or scorched state. I see distinct differences in my Bloodgood and the pictures Swanny posts of Bloodgood with similar exposure in different geographical locations, or maybe I just get to observe fall-like color all summer long:)

    I would enjoy grafting my tree and observing it under a more sheltered and shaded exposure-simply as a means of learning to appreciate one of the most common cultivars and its unique qualities and its ability to exhibit a more 'RED' color than commonly seen.

    I live in Oregon and I dont' yet have Oregon Sunset, I may have to correct that simply of comparisons sake, LOL!!

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2006
  15. Andre

    Andre Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Bordeaux, France
    I have a "supposed to be" Bloodgood grafted maple which has actually dark red leaves.

    The bark is also dark red.

    I am a bit surprised because the Vertree's book says that Bloodgood belongs to palmatum and I think this leaves looks more matsumurae.

    Would you say this is a "real bloodgood" anyway ?

    Attached Files:

  16. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon

    I think you have a good argument to think say you have a tree with a matsumarae leaf shape, but I am not sure that is the case.

    The bark color is also probably too dark to be Bloodgood which tends to have a grey-green coloration.

    There are not that many trees in the matusmarae group with 5 lobes, most have 7, but a good example of a 5 lobed tree is Yubae. We then arrive back at the qestion: do you have a cultivar or a grafted seedling of Bloodgood or Artopurpureum?

    I looked at photos of all of my upright palmatums to confirm what you were seeing and the biggest factor was the dissection of the middle lobes. Some palmatums can show the very dissected middle lobes, but the matsumarae type will almost always be nearly to the leaf base or petiole.

    I am not sure that the majority of you leaves are dissected enough to say that the tree you have is of the matsumarae group. I think a tree that borders on palmatum with a very palmate leaf shape and lobe structure would need to show very deep dissection to fall into the matsumarae group.

    I added a photo of my small Yubae to the gallery so you can take a look. Jim has I beautiful mature specimen posted there also.

    Just a side note: This would have made a good new thread since it deals with leaf shape not the color of Bloodgood leaves. Just keep that in mind for future.

  17. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Bloodgood is technically an amoenum. There are three
    species or subspecies, depending on who wants to argue,
    Acer amoenum, Acer matsumurae and Acer palmatum that
    make up the combined realm of Japanese Maples - Acer

    Mr. Vertrees refers to Bloodgood as having a palmate
    shaped leaf rather than a deeply divided one. Some
    palmate shaped leaves can have divisions in the lobes
    2/3 the distance and still be considered a palmate form.
    Whereas a Burgundy Lace which is considered a deeply
    divided form will have separations in the lobes almost
    all the way to the base of the leaf.

    I like the fact you picked up on bark color but as Michael
    wrote Bloodgood does not have a reddish colored trunk..
    Most of the atropurpureum palmate forms do not have
    red in the trunk but can have some red in the bark. Oshio
    beni and Oshu beni can have a reddish colored trunk as
    well as red in the bark. Fireglow can have just a hint of
    red in the trunk and can have red in the bark, Effigi can

    Part of the problem we have in Japanese Maples and what
    will not make sense to people starting out with these plants
    is that there have been some shenanigans played with some
    of the names of these Maples. There really is no guarantee
    any more that the name of Maple we purchased is indeed
    the correct cultivar. I wish it were not so but it is and
    there have been a number of Maples sold as being a
    Bloodgood in which they were just seedlings from a
    Bloodgood parent that had some red coloration in the
    leaves and then were sold as Bloodgood. In many
    cases, if the outer leaves on a plant purchased as a
    Bloodgood grown in full sun turn green or show any
    green coloring then the Maple becomes suspect as
    being a Bloodgood, even grafted plants. More likely
    if your Maple is a cultivar rather than a seedling that
    was grafted I think your Maple is closer to being an
    Oshio beni or even a Fireglow based on just the leaf
    size and shape as well as the coloring of it. Then again
    to be better certain of what you have we would need to
    see the coloring your Maple goes through in a growing
    season before we can commit and state with some
    certainty what it is, if it has a name as a cultivar. Until
    we know more of your Maple, its color and what happens
    to the leaves during the growing year such as do the
    leaves become smaller in size as the year progresses,
    then some of us have to equate it as being a grafted
    seedling for now until we know better. Most people
    will not play it safe and wait to have more knowledge
    of the plant in question as too many others want a name
    for the Maple they purchased right now and there may
    not be a recognized name for it.

    Below is a photo of our Bloodgood. I know the
    quality of the photo is not good at all as there is
    too much glare in it but it does serve to show that
    even with the less than desirable coloring of the
    Magnolia to the right and the Podocarpus to the
    left, as the true green coloring of them appears
    washed out, the red from Bloodgood stands out
    even in a lousy photo.


    An addendum:

    Added another photo taken yesterday (04/20/05)
    almost the same shot of the Maple a year later.

    Attached Files:

  18. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Southern Oregon
    Jim makes a good point about the red coloration. This time of year, even in dappled sun, the Bloodgoods, Fireglows, Moonfires, etc. will have and unmistakeable color. A deep color whether it be red, purple etc. that permeates the leaf. And this is true for many cultivars as to the purity of color in the spring. As we approach the end of spring, the effects of shade and be seen as the color and intensity fade.

    If find it difficult to discern the cultivars of this group by their spring leaf shape, but color is very important. As the seasons move forward, the leaf shape becomes more apparant and we get to see how the color is held in the leaves. Fall brings another similar time for color, but we hope to see that fire red of spring agian to some degrees. Here in the hotter drier climates, it is sometimes possible to get an idea of what tree we have by how well is tolerates that hot sun or to what degree it might bronze or burn.
  19. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Los Angeles, CA

    Before I've always wondered what the commotion was regarding Bloodgood. I've always called it "Blood so-so". But after seeing Jim's tree my jaw dropped. It's a Bloodgreat! Really sad the line has been diluted...

  20. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Bloodgood is the standard Japanese Maple that
    all other reds are measured by. There are forms
    of Bloodgood also which originally were
    seedlings raised from cutting grown parents
    in which some selected colors were chosen.
    Many years ago some nurseries that had these
    color forms lumped them all together whereas
    some nurseries separated them out. When
    Don Kleim heard of the new improved touted
    versions that were in East Coast nurseries
    he made sure to have them come in to compare
    to his form of Bloodgood, just to monitor the
    coloring during the growing season. There is
    a purple red colored Bloodgood which has
    become the nursery standard plant that we
    used to see a lot in nurseries wherever we
    went. Many nurseries today still have the purple
    red form in which the top growth of the tree
    in lots of sun will have a purple cast to the
    leaves and the middle to the lower leaves of
    the tree will have the even shade of red.
    Some people prefer the purple red to the
    even shade of red that we have.

    Our Maple came out of Sherwood, Oregon.
    As one can tell from some of my other photos
    of Maples that I was rather pleased with the
    Maples that came from there from one
    specific wholesale nursery in particular.
    I'll supply a "cleaner" photo of this Maple
    at some point in time as well as provide a
    photo or two of our Suminagashi which after
    all these years in the ground (12) finally showed
    its better color this Spring.

    Another thing to keep in mind about Bloodgood
    that many people are not ready to hear is that
    if we grow this Maple in high shade when it is
    young it can take several years for it to color
    up well once planted in the ground in full sun.
    The more shade we give this Maple the less intense
    color we will see and in some cases it takes a long
    while for this Maple and other reds also to show
    their truest colors. Then there are areas of the
    world that may not ever see the true coloring due
    to the lack of sunlight but more so the lack of the
    intensity of sunlight. Direct sunlight will bring
    out the colors of most reds which is why one
    area will see more green coloring in the leaves
    than we will here. It is not to say that they
    in other areas do not have the right Maple
    it is that they do not have the right conditions
    to see the right coloring of this Maple.
    A case in point is what we see in the
    photos of these links below. Bear in
    mind that the photo from Ganshukutei
    has been slightly color enhanced and the
    photos from Esveld show the purple red
    form as grown in England and Holland,
    pretty much the same form that Monrovia
    Nursery has sold for years.




    Bloodgood will "pleach" as we called it during
    the hot Summer months here in lots of sun in
    which the leaves will show a bronzing on the
    outer edges of the leaves and what appears to
    be a sunburn greening in the interior of the leaf.
    Only the leaves exposed to the most direct sun
    will get this condition. Rare to see it in Oregon
    but can show up in the more temperate Southern
    Oregon. Michael will see it in Medford, for
    example. That is no big deal as we can get a
    more even shade of red in the Bloodgood Maple
    and in Oregon Sunset a variety of colors in a
    growing season that many areas do not get.
    I've always liked the color phases that Oregon
    Sunset goes through in a growing season, even
    more so here than in cooler climates that may
    not see those same color changes. It's a pretty
    Maple also.

  21. Andre

    Andre Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Bordeaux, France
    Here is my "Bloodgood" today. It's in east exposure so it has sun only in the morning.

    It has been repotted last february with a severe root pruning.

    Do you think that can be the reason why it turns green so early ?

    Attached Files:

  22. myoung

    myoung Member

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    TN, USA
    Re: "Papers" for Japanese Maples ?

    Forgive me, but I'm new at this site. I joined specifically so I could ask for your assistance. I saw some info you posted on a thread about "why is my bloodgood turning green", and you seemed very knowledgeable. My bloodgood(s) that I just bought this year are doing the same, though they were a beautiful red until just about a week or so ago, when the green started showing (it being the beginning of June now, and I'm in TN). I've got them in full sun, and one tree even has a couple of seeds growing on it. If I could post some really good pics, could you help me confirm if they are indeed bloodgoods? I was so careful to research and get something I thought was going to stay red all summer.

    I appreciate your help!
  23. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    There is one rule that people must know. If I am
    asked to confirm if a Maple is what they bought it
    as being then they had better be prepared for the
    answer they may not want to read.

    I do feel that more people should ask if the Maple
    they just bought is the right plant or not but we
    have people that do expect a solid or definitive
    answer for Maples that are too young still to
    adequately identify. People have bought one
    and two year old "liner" sized plants sold on
    eBay and online nursery sources and expect us
    or anyone to know the name of the Maple they
    have. All we can do and we need to qualify this
    point is that we are basing a name for the plant
    on what we see of the plant today. We have not
    seen the Maple enough through various stages to
    know for sure what it is. It is so much easier to
    tell what the plant isn't and that may also be true
    for what we see of it today, as there is more than
    one Maple as shown in this thread that based on
    the photos of them are not a Bloodgood.

    The area of concern is that once the Maple has
    been established that it is not a Bloodgood then
    people will want to know what it is. Therein lies
    the biggest problem of all as we may not know
    yet what it is, as we have to see the plant over
    time to better assure ourselves it is what we
    thought it was and our preliminary analysis of
    what the Maple is can change when we see
    other stages of the plants development.

    Okay, please do post some photos and I'll
    try to help you. If you feel comfortable
    doing it I'd like to know of the nursery
    that grew the plant. Not necessarily the
    nursery that you bought the plant from, as
    knowing the growing source for the Maples
    may be of significant importance to better
    equating what the Maples are that you bought.

    Our Bloodgood is not showing any green to
    the leaves as of yet. So any green seen now
    other than an undertone as opposed to an
    overtone whereby we will see definite green
    in the surface color of the leaves this early
    in the growing season where you are located,
    in full sun, does offer up some early thoughts
    that your Maples are not Bloodgood until I
    know and can see evidence to the contrary.

    Give me as much background information as
    you can as to your culture for these plants such
    as have you fertilized them, how much was
    applied, did you amend the planting sites before
    planting? Did you amend the planting holes prior
    to the trees being planted? How are you watering
    these trees, what is your soil type and do you have
    an idea as to what your soil pH is?


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