Japanese Maples are the queens of the garden, with an air of delicate beauty that falsely suggests they are incredibly difficult to grow. This is not true; if placed in a suitable location they will spend trouble-free lives in your garden, becoming more and more beautiful and special with each passing year. In small gardens particularly, every plant has to be special to earn a place and the Red Dragon Japanese Maple is so very special it belongs in every garden. Every season will be a joy with your tree. In spring the leaves will emerge a brilliant cherry color, darkening through the summer and then turning scarlet in fall. No other Japanese Maple Tree keeps its red color so well as Red Dragon. In winter the delicate tracery of the twigs will be a charming picture in your sleeping garden
Growing Red Dragon Japanese Maple Trees
Red Dragon Japanese Maple will grow slowly to 8 or 10 feet tall, becoming broader and more dome-shaped as it grows. Because it stays small there is room for this amazing tree in even the smallest garden. Even if you don’t have a garden at all it makes a beautiful tree for a pot and is also a perfect specimen for bonsai. Growing in a gorgeous oriental container this will be a specimen for your terrace or balcony that will bring oriental grace to any setting. It can even be brought inside for short periods but it should live outdoors most of the time.
Hardiness and Sun Exposure
The Red Dragon Japanese Maple is hardy from zones 5 to 8, so it can be grown in gardens across most of America. It does best in partial shade, especially with protection from the hot afternoon sun. Red Dragon is more tolerant of sunlight than most other kinds of dissected Japanese Maples, so it will succeed in pretty sunny locations as long as it gets plenty of water. A location protected from hot drying winds or cold winter winds is best, so in front of large shrubs is an ideal location.
Choose the location for your Red Dragon Japanese Maple carefully. Find a place with the right amount of shade that is also a place where you can see your tree and admire it. Dig a hole three times wider than the pot and add lots of organic material and peat-moss to the soil. Place your plant in the hole, replace most of the soil and firm it well down. Then water thoroughly and replace the rest of the soil, being careful not to cover the roots with any extra soil. Mulch around your tree but keep the mulch away from the trunk.
Soil Conditions and Mulching
The Red Dragon Japanese Maple prefers deep, loamy soil rich in organic material and damp, well-drained and slightly acidic. If you soil is alkaline use a fertilizer called chelated iron each spring to keep your tree healthy. It is a good idea to also mulch around your tree each spring with peat-moss or lime-free compost or manure to conserve moisture.
Pruning and Trimming
Pruning is not normally needed but should be done in winter or late fall if required to shape your tree a little. Your tree will do best left to naturally develop its own unique grace and charm. You should immediately remove any plain-green shoots that might appear.
History and Origins of the Red Dragon Japanese Maple
The Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) is native to Japan, Korea and parts of Russia and Mongolia. It is a small tree that grows 20 to 30 feet tall in the shade beneath other larger forest trees. For centuries unusual specimens have been collected and cultivated in Japan and more recently also in North America and Europe, so that today hundreds of different forms are available. The most popular features are red leaves and finely divided, or dissected, leaves. Most of the red-leaved forms are beautiful in spring but tend to lose their color over summer and become dingy and greenish.
Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Red Dragon’ was especially bred in New Zealand and recently introduced into America to have red leaves that stay a brilliant red all season. It also stays as a small tree that will reach just 8 or perhaps 10 feet tall eventually and almost as much across. When mature it is a dome-shaped tree with a twisted trunk and curving branches with a semi-weeping habit. The leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, with seven lobes and they are deeply dissected right to the base, with toothed edges as well, giving the leave a very glamorous appearance.
The leaves emerge in spring a bright cherry-red color, slowly turn crimson red during summer and then bright scarlet in fall. Not only do the leaves hold their red color well, they show a pageant of shades as the seasons follow each other. Flowers that may occur in spring are insignificant. The bark is smooth and grey-green, with delicate light-gray lines flowing across it. The young stems are red and make a beautiful picture in the winter even without the leaves.
Buying Red Dragon Japanese Maples at The Tree Center
Red Dragon Japanese Maple is such a special plant that only the exact plant will have the right color and form. So it must be produced directly from trees absolutely known to exactly the right variety. Our trees are grown the correct way, by grafting small branches of these special trees onto seedlings of ordinary Japanese Maples. That way every tree is identical to the original and you will be delivered a real Red Dragon tree. All this takes time and the trees grow slowly, so cheap trees will not be genuine. There are many inferior red Japanese Maples available that will only be a great disappointment to you.
We sell only trees that are true to the original form and we have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. However we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.