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Acer palmatum

Archive entry 03.11.19

5th April 2006

Just a few leaves and branches from this treelet. I bought this as a small seedling back in the days when unicorns still walked the earth, and before the wrinkles in my face could be used to conceal a small invading army. It sat for years in a tasteful earthenware pot outside the front door ... looking tasteful!
Eventually, I decided it deserved a chance to expand a bit, and planted it out in the woods, where it has grown more in the last three years than it did in the preceeding decade.
Acer palmatum makes a charming large shrub or small tree. Not a lover of windy conditions, I am hoping that the little bit of shelter it gets will be enough. If the autumn isn't too blustery then I can hope for a reasonable display of autumn colour. In the early spring of 2006 I bought a selection of recently grafted cultivars from a plant fair. They were very cheap, and I wanted more for the garden. They are currently sitting in pots , and starting to show some signs of distinctiveness, however they are still very small, and I don't really know what to expect from them. I have included some pictures where possible. I am happy to accept that any text I write is probably going to be hogwash!

7th April 2008

Cold weather is a terrible trial for fresh Acer leaves, but fortunately this shower of snow in April was as short lived as it was unexpected.

3rd February 2009

Heavy snow is always a bit of a shock, but better now than in March!

29th March 2009

It has continued to grow substantially, and now I need to remove some of the surrounding vegetation if it is going to continue to develop as a tree.

17th February 2011

I have finally had to face the fact that it is growing in the way again. The options were to cut it down or dig it up, and I thought it was worth trying to save. It lifted surprisingly easily, with a good root ball and moved a couple of yards to a new position in a row of other trees.
Since replanting it has leafed out well and taken the summer heat (ha ha!) without trouble so I think it will survive.

10th November 2012

It is very satisfying to see it grow away without a problem.

1st December 2016

22nd November 2019

A popular species from Japan, where it has been extensively selected and developed into a wide range of cultivars. In the wild it also reaches into China, Korea and Taiwan.


  • James Armitage, Dawn Edwards, Neil Lancaster, John G. Hillier and Roy Lancaster (eds), The Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs, 8th edition, 2014.
  • W. J. Bean, Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles, Eighth edition.