Twomblys Red Sentinel Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum 'Twombly's Red Sentinel'

1 Review

Twomblys Red Sentinel Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum 'Twombly's Red Sentinel'

1 Review


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple is the only upright, columnar Japanese maple tree in existence. All other varieties are rounded and broad, often as wide as they are tall. This one is very different – it forms a narrow, tight column of beautiful rich red leaves, making the perfect accent in your garden. It is also vigorous and fast growing, so you will soon have a beautiful specimen to enjoy. Perhaps you have a small garden, but need something with height. Perhaps you have narrow space to fill, need a narrow screen for some extra privacy, or to hide an ugly view. It could be you need a strong accent plant to help the design of your garden. Whichever it is you need, this is the perfect tree to solve your problem and give you great beauty. The lovely red leaves are divided into 5 narrow lobes, like the fingers on a hand, and they move from crimson in spring, through burgundy all summer and into brilliant red in fall. The branches are bright red too, adding lots of color to your winter garden.

  • The only columnar Japanese maple in existence
  • Narrow upright pillar, 3 feet wide and 10 feet tall in a few years
  • Fast growing, tough and vigorous
  • Beautiful leaf colors of crimson, burgundy and bright red
  • Red winter twigs add color even when the leaves have fallen

Plant Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple in a sunny or partially shaded location. Some afternoon shade is beneficial in very hot areas. It will grow well in almost any garden soil that is not constantly wet, and benefits from organic material at planting time, and as mulch. It has no pests or diseases and is easy to grow. It will thrive with little care, and once established it only needs watering during dry spells. For a unique form of Japanese maple, this is the top choice.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-8
Mature Width 3-7
Mature Height 10-20
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Zones 5-8

All the larger Japanese Maple Trees are broad and rounded, even when the branches are upright. Although they are small trees, they do need some space for their width. If you have a smaller garden, or a narrow space to fill, or even if you are looking for a visual accent, then a more upright tree is what you need. In the past, if you love Japanese Maples, you would not have found something suitable for these purposes, but since the arrival of Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple, all that has changed.

This tree is the first and only columnar Japanese Maple that grows into a narrow, upright column of beautiful red foliage. It makes a lovely accent in your garden, catching the eye and drawing attention. It fits perfectly into a small space, or plant several can in a row for a narrow screen. It is vigorous and fast growing, so you will not wait long to have a perfect specimen.

Growing Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple Trees

Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple forms an upright tree, quickly growing to 10 feet tall, but staying just 3 feet across, it will continue growing and may eventually reach 20 feet, still staying less than 10 feet wide. This narrow sentinel of red makes a dramatic accent in any garden. The leaves have the classic ‘Japanese Maple’ dissected form, with five narrow lobes radiating out like fingers on a hand. They are 2 to 3 inches across, and colored in delicious shades of red throughout the seasons. In spring they are crimson, turning to burgundy as summer comes.

Because this tree is constantly growing, there is usually a two-tone color effect, with new crimson leaves flashing against the background of the older burgundy ones. In fall they turn a dramatic bright red. Even after the leaves are gone, color from this tree persists all winter, because the twigs are a rich, bright red, which stand out beautifully against the wintery backdrops of crisp blue skies or fresh white snow. In spring, older trees will produce tiny purplish-red flowers in clusters among the leaves, and these develop into miniature versions of the well-known maple keys that fall from larger maple trees. These are bright red, and hang for several months, adding yet more color to this tree.

Planting Location and Soil Conditions

Choose a sunny or partially shaded location to plant your Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple, and add plenty of organic material to the soil when you prepare the ground. Mulch your tree each spring with rich organic material, to provide nutrition and to conserve moisture.

In hot areas a location that has shade from the afternoon sun during the months of summer is best, but this tree is very resistant to summer heat, unlike some of its more delicate relatives. It will grow well in any garden soil that is well drained but not too dry. This is also a very vigorous, fast growing tree, so it will soon develop into the perfect upright column of beauty you need.

History and Origins of Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple

The Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) is a tree that is native to Japan, Korea, eastern Russia and Mongolia. Even in the wild it only grows 20 to 30 feet tall. It is naturally shade tolerant, because it lives in the partial shade underneath larger forest trees. In the late 1970s, Ken Twombly was visiting a church in eastern Connecticut, when he saw a large specimen of the ‘Bloodgood’ variety of Japanese Maple. He saw a unusually clump of compact, upright branches growing on it, and since he had his own nursery nearby he collected some pieces and took them back to grow.

Once they developed as independent trees they had such a dramatic, upright form he thought they were like red sentinels on guard, so his tree became ‘Twombly’s Red Sentintel’. To this day, it remains the only columnar Japanese Maple available – a unique and very special tree.

Buying Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maples at The Tree Center

Such a special tree cannot be grown from seed, as seedling trees will not have its unique features, so avoid cheaper trees that are often just seedlings. This tree is considered difficult to propagate, but our expert growers join carefully chosen shoots to the roots of seedling trees, to produce exact replicas of Ken Twombly’s original tree. This skillful work takes time, but the results are always worth it

Because Twombly’s Red Sentinel Japanese Maple is unique – the only upright Japanese Maple in existence – it is always popular. Although we have good supplies, we know they will not last long. Now is the time to order if you want to enjoy this unique plant in your own garden.

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Twomblys Red Sentinel Japanese Maple

Acer palmatum 'Twombly's Red Sentinel'

1 Review