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5 Tips for Picking the Best Type of Japanese Maple for Your Property

The turning of colors on the trees is a highly anticipated event that brings many people out to Crooked Oaks to admire the fall foliage. Our most notable and spectacular fall foliage comes from our Japanese maple trees—part of the legacy of our founder Coach Pat Dye. Looking to bring the beauty of autumn to your home or business? Here are five tips for picking out the best type of Japanese maple for your property.

About Japanese Maple trees

Japanese maples are a symbol of elegance and grace. With their little-to-no maintenance and their ever-changing beauty, these trees are an excellent addition to any garden or property.

From the bare branches in winter to the red, pink, and green spring leaves followed by the summer growth and fall foliage, Japanese maples offer their charm and allure all year round. You can add these trees to your landscape or even grow some in large pots on your deck or patio.

How to select the right one

Selecting the right Japanese maple tree for you and your land depends on many different factors. Keep in mind these five tips for picking the best type of Japanese maple for your property.


Most Japanese maples do well in zones five through eight. When planting, it is critical to select a variety that is cold hardy in your zone. Japanese maples can be grown in warmer zones but can suffer from what is known as leaf scorching. This, then, may require regular summer irrigation and protection from the sun. If you are planting in a pot or container above the ground, choose a variety that is at least two cold zones hardier than your zone.


Where will your tree be planted? Most kinds of Japanese maples prefer to be in the morning sun and tucked away in the afternoon shade. If you are in the southern region, it is important to avoid planting in locations that face the full sun all day depending on the variety you chose. The trees may be able to live in that environment, but are at a high risk of leaf scorching.

Mature Size

It is vital to keep in mind how large you can allow your tree to grow. Japanese maples can range anywhere from 2 to 30 feet tall. They also come in forms that can be weeping, rounded, dwarf, mounding, upright, or cascading. With a small amount of pruning once or twice a year, Japanese maples are very easy to maintain at a specific size. But, if you prefer not to prune, you will want to pick a variety that, by nature, can only grow to a size that will work for your space.

Leaf type

After determining what size and hardiness are right for you, it is time to think about foliage. The leaves of Japanese maples are primarily divided into two types: Dissectum (weeping or lacy) and Palmatum (upright palm-shaped). This choice is often informed by the style of the garden and sun exposure.

  • Dissectum types typically cannot tolerate direct sun. These lace leaves are much more delicate and are advised to be planted in areas that are not exposed to the sun all day.
  • Palmatum leaf types are recommended to be planted in areas that experience longer amounts of sun exposure. These types of leaves are known to be more resilient to wind.

Preferred leaf color

What color foliage appeals to you? Japanese maples are among the most colorful trees. With a wide color range—red, pink, purple, orange, green, and white depending on the season—it is up to you to choose what look you want. Do you want a sequence of color changes from summer to fall? Or do you just want the rich red color throughout all of the seasons?

Once you take all of these tips into consideration and make your decisions, it is time to pick your Japanese maple!


Japanese maple trees are the perfect way to add beauty and color to any garden or landscape. With these tips for picking out the best type of Japanese maple for your property, you will be able to bring elegance and grace right to your home.

Stop by and see the changing of the leaves on our Japanese maple trees this fall at Crooked Oaks, located at 768 Red Creek Road in Notasulga, Alabama. For more planting tips and information about Crooked Oaks, continue reading our blog!

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