Japanese maple trees are a joy of color and variety, says Vaughn


My family was on the road a bunch over the Thanksgiving holiday week. I had also been traveling some the couple of weeks prior to our annual Thursday turkey themed dining extravaganza for work-related meetings.

I had thought that our fall colors in the natural forest were pretty much spent, especially with the heavy rains we have been having with these late season tropical storms. When rolling back into town this past Sunday, I noticed that fall colors on Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) were off the charts. They were everywhere with the oranges, reds and yellows being spectacular.

Campbell Vaughn is the UGA Agriculture and Natural Resource agent for Richmond County.

  It is hard not to like a Japanese maple. They are small- to medium-sized trees that are native to southeast Korea and south/central Japan. They do well in zones 5-8, which includes most of Georgia and South Carolina. They are reveled for their forms ranging from upright to weeping to spreading. The leaf textures range from very fine to almost medium. The bark can also vary from a green to burgundy red. During the growing season and depending on the variety, the leaves can be red, orange, green, yellow or mixed types of variegation. When fall rolls around like this week, they will wow you with a next level color brightness.  

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