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Dwarf Japanese Maples…. At Davidsans It’s Our Specialty

At Davidsan’s our true specialty and love is Dwarf Japanese Maples. We always try to have a wide variety on hand, as most folks can easily find placement for them. Space requirements for JMs is one of the 5 most asked questions by those that want to plant Japanese Maples. Most folks just do not have unlimited space. They either have already or will at some point be close to running out of plantable areas, and in need of a smaller Japanese Maple cultivar.

There are several things to remember about Dwarfs. Numero uno is that the word “dwarf” as it pertains to Japanese Maples has become totally bastardized . That is why I have a couple of height ranges to choose from in my Sap app. Dwarf JMs can very widely in height . They can also vary widely in width, shape and form, although most dwarfs tend to be bushy, rather than open. Some Dwarfs such as Pixie, Margaret, Rhode Island Red and some others are more tree like but they also tend to be larger /taller to go along with their open form. Others stay small and are compact but stiffly branched in small branchettes with oddly placed leaves like Ojishi, Tsukumo, Ryuzu and a few others.

Dwarfs generally tend to grow more slowly than non dwarfs.  They may put on a lot of new growth each year but it will not be in long branches. The conifer society rates conifer dwarfs by growth rate which is a good way to do it. No tree, including dwarf JMs ever stops growing  til they die of old age, usually they grow very slowly. Many Dwarf JMs that are rated very small can get big over decades but most folks really shouldn’t think in those terms. Simply ask yourself if you are likely to be living at your current location in 50 years.

As with all Japanese Maples the more JM friendly the area you live in, the bigger dwarfs will get, at least at a much faster rate. Fortunately, for those who have space limitations or want a smaller JM, most dwarfs tend to be bushy which allows them to be much more easily trimmed even for an amateur. Whereas more open upright trees really need to be trimmed carefully. Its the difference between basically shaping the tree and really opening up a tree. With shaping, you really have to be high as a kite to screw up. But upright JMs, including open dwarfs can easily be butchered by over enthusiastic “scissor hands” or a person with no discerning eye ( read: don’t let your spouse touch your tree if they poo poo your “habit”, and never let an inexperienced horticulturalist or one with no JM experience do it ). Usually though,this damage is only temporary, and after the next growing season most butchers get a reprieve ;>). This is because most uprights tend to grow fast when they reach the age that they need to be trimmed .

Basically dwarfs will be smaller slower growing and most can be placed just about anywhere in your planting area. They will not shade much or take up too much space.

Another thing to consider is that many dwarfs are witches brooms. Many folks feel that witches brooms tend to to be a bit more tender and or need to be babied a bit more. I personally have not seen this but thought I should pass this along.

Dwarfs are often used for bonsai because of their slower growth rate and branching characteristics. Many also have smaller leaves priced by bonsai enthusiasts. These smaller leaves make for a very pretty fancier tree for everyone not just those into bonsai. Even larger leaved dwarf cultivars like Mikawa yatsubusa, and Adrians Compact have leaves smaller and more layered than most any upright.

Because dwarfs make great bonsai trees it should help ya understand how easily dwarf JMs can be kept in containers for many many Years. Just remember they will need a bit of additional care, such as root pruning, fertilizing, and up-potting  Just as bonsai container grown trees do. But these chores need not be done yearly and are much less work, like the intricate pruning bonsai enthusiast are apt to do. Using containers with dwarf JMs is especially apropos for the northern areas where very few or no Japanese Maples can be grown in the ground. Containerizing dwarf JMs can open up the world of Japanese Maples to just about everyone,no matter where they live. Of course you can containerize any JM. But dwarf cultivars will take much less work to keep them in good condition for many years. They are the perfect container plant.

Finally the color of many green dwarfs have edges that are highlighted in shades of red, which is particularity striking on their smaller leaves. Many red and yellow dwarfs have strikingly beautiful shades of their particular color in spring and fall that will knock your socks off. These colors are compact and condensed making for a real point of special interest in any garden. I find dwarfs more enjoyable quicker for one basic reason. Many uprights really need time to fill out, often years, before they take on their spectacular individual look … Dwarfs do so fairly quickly with their compact form.

At Davidsan’s you will find the largest selection of dwarf cultivars being offered for sale on the web. Our trees are available in various sizes and price point to fit any placement or budget.  Our variety and breath of dwarf Japanese Maple cultivars makes Davidsan’s the first and last stop in searching for that special smaller cultivar. If you want to have a bit of fun, just browse through our dwarf section and you will be amazed how many super cool dwarfs we offer. Then go to the SAP app and narrow down your choices. Finally, always feel free to contact us directly if you have a special need for a dwarf cultivar or have one in mind and want a second opinion .

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