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Varieties Well-Suited for O.C.

May 15, 1999

There are many Japanese maples. Here is a sampling of types that do well here:

* Beni komachi: Means "beautiful red dancing girl" in Japanese. A dwarf tree with small, red leaves. Each lobe of the leaves is spread wide, giving an overall delicate effect. Grows 4 to 5 feet tall. Plant in morning sun and afternoon shade.

* Bloodgood: Grows upright, to 15 feet high and 10 feet wide. Brilliant red, serrated leaves. Very showy plant makes a statement in the garden. Good focal point. Takes full sun.

* Butterfly shishio improved: Small, pointed, variegated leaves change color throughout the growing season. In spring the leaves are pink, cream, red and green, maturing to cream and green in the summer and fall. Upright grower, 12 to 13 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Good on the patio in a pot or paired with with another tree. Needs morning sun and afternoon shade.

* Crimson queen: Graceful, cascading plant. Looks especially good in a water garden. Large, toothed leaves are crimson. Slow growing, reaching 4 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Requires morning sun and afternoon shade.

* Garnet laceleaf: Delicate, lacy, finely cut, small leaves in green and red. Slow growing, reaching 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Good patio tree or in small corners of the yard. Morning sun and afternoon shade.

* Mountain green: Small, green, serrated leaves, turning dark orange or red in fall. Fast-growing for a maple, up to 2 feet a year. Can reach 15 feet high and 15 feet wide with no pruning but tolerates being cut back. Durable; will take full sun. This versatile variety does well in containers and is equally happy in the middle of the yard.

* Orangeola: Finely cut, serrated leaves glow with neon-orange tones when foliage is new. Leaves become green in summer, gold in fall. Good focal point. Fast grower, putting on 12 inches of new growth per year. Requires morning sun and afternoon shade.

* Red pygmy: Semi-dwarf tree grows 7 to 10 feet tall. Has a dense, bamboo look. Leaves are red in spring, green in summer and golden-yellow with random touches of crimson in fall. Good choice for under house eaves or in small gardens. Requires morning sun and afternoon shade.

* Toyama nishki: Slow-growing tree with wide, weeping branching pattern. Finely cut, serrated foliage is heavily variegated with cream, pink, green and reddish brown. Good container plant. Prefers filtered sun at all times.

* Trompenburg: Toothed leaves are burgundy when planted in full sun, greener in partial shade. Upright grower, 15 to 18 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. Durable plant that does well in full sun or partial shade. Branches out nicely, looking good anywhere in the yard.

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