Saturday, December 20, 2008

It Shines in Winter

Let me start by saying I don't like these trees. At least I don't like them for about 8-9 months a year and then in the winter they finally live up to their name.
Even if you're not a total Japanese maple maniac you've probably seen an acer palmatum named 'sango kaku' at a local garden center. It's your typical green palmatum leaf maple most of the year and also is prone to a very twiggy growth habit. It's young growth structure is lame and the leaves are very blah.
Taking all that into consideration typically this tree would be a pass. Here's where it takes a turn for the better. In winter it's bark is a scarlet red and that's where they get their name coral bark. They stand out as a blazing winter flame, in fact one dwarf version is named 'winter flame'. The only downer to this habit is as the tree gets older the mature bark doesn't display the red habit. I would also note that I feel that a cultivar named 'Japanese sunrise' is superior in growth habit to the more common 'sango kaku'

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