Glowing Embers Japanese MapleAcer palmatum 'Glowing Embers'
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Acer palmatum 'Glowing Embers'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Glowing Embers Japanese Maple is a fabulous tree that brings growing Japanese maples within the reach of gardeners in the South. It is very resistant to summer heat and humidity, and doesn’t scorch or burn the way so many others do. Vigorous, it grows to 15 feet within 10 years, making an excellent small shade tree that will become over 20 feet tall and wide. Use it on a lawn, in a courtyard, behind your shrubs, in an Asian-themed garden, and even in a planter. It also grows well in colder climates.
Your Glowing Embers Japanese Maple will grow best with some morning sun and afternoon shade. It can tolerate full sun in cooler states. The best soil is rich, moist and well-drained, and organic material added at planting time, and as mulch, will help it grow well. Water regularly, especially during the early years, and this tree is normally free of pests or diseases. Trim as needed to develop a taller trunk or a more mature look.
Japanese maples are certainly the most desired of garden trees, loved by all for their beauty and diversity of colors and forms. Love can come at a price, though, and for gardeners in much of the country these desirable trees need a lot of attention, and they still often fail or under-perform. It’s almost a cliché to say that northern gardeners envy the variety of plants that can be grown in warmer zones, but with Japanese maples the tables are turned – it’s the southern gardeners who envy the ability of growers in cool, damp areas like the northwest to enjoy these wonderful trees with ease. Well no more. Finally we have a Japanese maple that enjoy the heat and humidity of the south. Originating in Georgia, the Glowing Embers Japanese Maple is a wonderful tree that has all the charms of Japanese maples and, for southern growers, none of the headaches. We even have trusted reports that it is growing well in southern Florida – a total first. This upright tree becomes large enough to use as a beautiful shade tree in a smaller garden, or an outstanding specimen in your Asian-themed garden. If you love Japanese maples, but have not been able to grow one well because of hot and humid summers, now is your chance to succeed. You’ll love the charming finger-like foliage, and especially the brilliant kaleidoscope of colors – like the embers of a fire – that make this tree an exceptional part of fall. This is not just a tree for the South, because it also performs well in the north, making an excellent shade tree for smaller spaces.
The Glowing Embers Japanese Maple is an upright small tree that grows to about 20 feet tall, with a broad spread that in time becomes wider than its height. This is a vigorous tree, not a slow-growing dwarf, and you can expect your tree to be 15 feet tall within 10 years of planting it. The smooth bark is light brown, with darker vertical markings, and the young stems are greenish. The branches grow upwards, arching outwards as they develop and mature.
The graceful leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, divided into 7 long, slender lobes like the fingers of a hand. Although graceful and elegant the lobes are not so narrow that they scorch or wither in the summer heat. The edges of the leaves are cut into fine serrations, adding extra charm. In spring the new leaves are pale green, on red stalks, and often flushed with pink. As they mature they turn a beautiful rich green, holding that color through the summer without scorching or burning. As fall arrives the fun begins, with the foliage passing through many shades of red, orange and gold, often turning a brilliant orange all over. The fall color develops late, extending the pleasure of that season, particularly in the warmest areas. Older trees may develop clusters of miniature maple keys, adding a decorative winter charm.
If you have a smaller garden and want a suitable shade tree, look no further. This tree is perfect for shading a small courtyard or a table for two, or for planting out on a lawn as a specimen. Grow it in any Asian-style or modern garden, or among shrubs and evergreens in a traditional American garden – it looks great anywhere. It can also be grown for years in a tub or large planter box in zone 7 or warmer zones.
The Glowing Embers Japanese Maple is nature’s gift to southern gardeners. It is hardy all the way from zone 5 to zone 10, and relishes the heat and humidity of the South, where almost all other Japanese maples perish. Yet it also thrives in cooler zones, and it can be grown almost everywhere with great success.
Full sun is suitable for the Glowing Embers Japanese Maple, but some afternoon shade in warmer zones is desirable. It also thrives in light overhead shade from taller deciduous trees, or on the shady north side of a building under a clear sky. The ideal soil is rich in organic material, moist and yet well-drained. Enrich the soil before planting, and use mulch to keep the roots cool and moist.
Although tough and heat resistant, this tree is not highly drought resistant, and it appreciates regular watering, especially during summer and in a dry spring. Mulch each spring, but otherwise little attention is needed. Pests and diseases are rare and once established this tree is easy to grow and trouble-free. To develop a taller tree, prune up into one or a few main stems, removing lower branches gradually over time, while they are small, to avoid scarring. The crown can also be trimmed a little, and thinned out to develop a more mature look. Or, you can leave your tree to happily grow naturally, without much attention at all.
Michael Dirr is a well-known plant expert and a professor at the University of Georgia in Athens. Being ‘good’ with plants means being observant, and for 25 years he watched a Japanese maple tree growing on the university’s campus. Where it came from is unknown, but he saw how it didn’t scorch or suffer in the hot summers, and always put on a brilliant fall show. He decided it deserved to be made available to gardeners, and introduced it to nurseries as ‘Glowing Embers’.
This tree won the Georgia Gold Medal for Best Tree in 2005. This award is from a non-profit organization of growers, garden centers, landscapers, and professional horticulturists, and their award is the stamp of approval for this tree as suitable for the South. Wherever you live you will love it, but order now, as these special trees sell out very, very quickly.