A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Japanese Maple Haircut

We're going to take slight detour today. Don't worry, we'll have a resolution to the backyard mystery project in the next week (maybe two weeks).  And the deaf dogs will certainly have antics to relay to our faithful readers. Today though...our Japanese maple.

The centerpiece of our backyard is good size lace leaf Japanese Maple, variety unknown. I've greatly appreciated these plants for a number of years but never lived in a place where they were viable options. Zone 10 Southern California was a bit too warm (though you could grow a few varieties) and Zone 4 North Dakota was too cold (though again, you could grow a few varieties). We planted two more Japanese Maples last year "Emmett's Pumpkin" and "Pung Kil". I'm also going to check out this book the next time I'm at the library.

This Japanese Maple was here when we moved and has been around for a while. The previous owners didn't seem to to more than give it the occasional bowl haircut. The picture below is our Japanese Maple in early March (before the construction project started) after an overnight rain, the drops of water glistened in the morning sun.
The bowl cut looked good enough and it was a majestic draping form. The tree itself has 4 seasons of visual interest and the leaves go from red to light green in Spring, darken through the Summer, and turn shades of gold and red in Fall. Giving it a proper trim was somewhere on my mental to-do list, but there were just so many other things that needed to be completed first. A contractor who was in the backyard consulting on our secret not-yet-announced big announcement gave me a hard time about its shabby condition. He stopped just short of saying I was doing a disservice to this lovely plant.
So Alycia and I spent a few hours pulling out dead branches, cutting off dead limbs, and clearing out the debris and leaves. What a difference it made. I didn't realize what an awesome structure it had underneath, the twisting branches off the main trunk look fantastic.
This is how it looked in mid-April, new growth had mostly filled it out.  The leaves will continue to gradually change color throughout the Spring and Summer and then put on a brilliant show for Fall.
Here's how it looks today in the second week of May in the dappled morning light. The leaves are a mixture of green, pale yellow, and maroon on this side. The West facing side that gets more afternoon sun has decidedly more deeply maroon leaves. It's a fantastic plant to have in the backyard with its appearance changing weekly.

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