The green Japanese maple has one of the most brilliant reds of all Japanese maples come fall. (Great Plant Picks)

The green Japanese maple has one of the most brilliant reds of all Japanese maples come fall. (Great Plant Picks)

Great Plant Pick: Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ aka green Japanese maple

Though it’s an understated green, this tree has one of the most brilliant reds of all Japanese maples come fall.

What: This understated green Japanese maple does not show its true glory until the cool autumn season arrives. Acer palmatum “Osakazuki” has one of the most brilliant reds of all Japanese maples. A blush of red quickly transforms to an intense crimson with an undertone of orange-red before finally dropping a red carpet around its base. Quick growing and vigorous in youth it still only attains the height of a small- to medium-sized tree with a lovely rounded to slightly oval shape.

Where: This lovely upright grower develops the best fall foliage color in full sun to open shade. Japanese maples are surprisingly flexible in their soil requirements. Although they will grow best in a rich and well-drained soil, they will also do well in sandy soils and clay.

Size: This green maple grows to be 20 feet tall with a canopy that stretches 20 feet across when mature.

Care: “Osakazuki” is very resistant to the leaves burning at the tips during the summer, but regular watering during dry weather helps maintain the tree at its best. Well-pruned Japanese maples are an art form in the garden and require an expert touch — so consult an experienced pruner or take local classes before attempting to prune.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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