Baldsmith Japanese MapleAcer palmatum 'Baldsmith’
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Acer palmatum 'Baldsmith’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Baldsmith Japanese Maple is perhaps the most spectacular and beautiful small tree in existence. It forms a broad upright tree with branches to the ground and semi-weeping side shoots and foliage. The leaves are divided repeatedly into slender segments, resembling antique lace, and they pass through multiple color changes over the year, from orange-reds to greens and pinks to gold and bright oranges. This superb tree is suitable for a prime garden location, and it will become a real treasure and a source of joy.
The Baldsmith Japanese Maple should be carefully located with some sun, and shade during the hottest hours of summer days. More shade may be needed in warmer areas, particularly if exposed to hot, dry winds. Plant in moist, well-drained and rich soil, and mulch regularly to keep the roots cool and damp. Pruning is rarely needed, and it should be done either in late-summer, or very late fall and winter only. Pests and diseases are normally never a problem, and this tree is not hard to grow with basic care, becoming better and better with every passing season.
The most striking and gorgeous form for Japanese maples is the slightly cascading tree, with twisting and exotic bare branches, and delicate foliage that forms a graceful outline. These trees are the height of beauty, wildly desirable, making magnificent specimens in the key locations of our gardens. Despite its mundane name, the Baldsmith Japanese Maple is one of those trees, with amazing structure, those extraordinary lacy leaves of the best varieties, and an ever-changing palette of colors all the experts agree is one of the best in existence. Obtaining a small supply of these trees was a coup for us, and we want to share it with you.
The Baldsmith Japanese Maple grows into an upright, spreading tree, with a twisted trunk and limbs, and horizontal outer branches. In time, it will grow 6 to 10 feet tall, and almost as much across, so just imagine how that is going to look in your garden. Yes, it takes time, but you will have a specimen that is not only of outstanding beauty but of considerable value too. The main stem is upright, becoming twisted and rugged with age, and the side branches grow semi-horizontally, creating width. The leaves are pendulous, so that the whole tree has a semi-weeping look, without having strongly descending weeping branches. The branches and foliage persist to the ground for many, many years, unless pruned up to expose more trunk.
The leaves of the Baldsmith Japanese Maple are of the dissectum, or ‘lace-leaf’ type, which means the leaf is large, perhaps 4 inches across, but this is not immediately obvious because each leaf is divided into 7 or 9 very slender lobes, which in turn are fringed and divided irregularly again. This creates a very dissected leaf that resembles a piece of antique lace. As the leaves develop, they turn outwards from the stem, becoming pendulous as they mature, and giving such a stunning look to this tree. When it comes to color, this tree is widely accepted as the most colorful of all the lace-leaf maples, with a constantly-changing seasonal succession of fabulous colors. The glory begins in spring, with the newly-emerged leaves brightly colored in orange and red tones. As the leaves mature, they turn first light green, and then become darker green, with pink edges emphasizing the lacy pattern. Since the new leaves continue to emerge orange-red, the tree remains brilliantly multi-colored for most of the summer. Then in fall, the green becomes golden yellow, and the pinks become vivid orange, making another spectacular color display. There are hardly two days from spring to the end of fall when this tree looks the same. It is always changing, with greens, oranges, reds, yellows, and pinks appearing in different intensities and hues.
A tree of this quality deserves a prime location in your garden, perhaps by an entrance or doorway, or by a pond or stream, where it will be reflected in the water. Plant it at the edge of a woodland area, or of course in a Japanese-style courtyard or garden. It can also be grown for a long time in a container so that you can move it around to appreciate its ever-changing splendor. Eventually, it could be planted out in a prime permanent location. With its great beauty and unique leaves, this is also a fabulous choice for a bonsai tree.
Grow the Baldsmith Japanese Maple in partial shade, with some morning sun to encourage good coloring. With its thin leaves, it benefits from moist soil, but it must be well-drained. Enriching the soil with organic material like garden compost, rotted leaves or well-rotted manure is very beneficial to this tree. Use the same type of material as mulch over the roots, to keep them cool and moist. Careful attention to watering is needed during the first 2 years, but once established it will be a little more resistant to drier conditions, though never drought resistant. This tree does not suffer from pests or diseases normally and with attention to watering and sun exposure, it is relatively easy to grow. For container growing, make sure your pot has a drainage hole, and use a compost blended for trees or bonsai. If that is not available, add 20% by volume of very coarse sand or fine gravel to ordinary outdoor potting soil. Always water thoroughly, until some water flows from the drainage holes, and don’t leave it standing in a saucer of water.
Sadly, we know nothing about the origin of the Baldsmith Japanese Maple, and who or what ‘Baldsmith’ was. This unique tree is different from other dissectum types, so its origin is a tantalizing mystery. There are many forms of the Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, grown around the world, starting with the ancient varieties treasured in Japan. By its name, this would seem to be a form developed in the West, perhaps within recent decades, but beyond that, we know nothing. This variety remains rare, and we are thrilled to have some specimens to offer to our most discerning customers. Take the plunge and order now, because these trees will be gone very soon, and we have no idea when we might see this plant again.