Key identifying features.. Deeply lobed,
bright red leaves in spring and fall.
Common name.. Bloodgood Japanese Red
Scientific name.. Acer palmatum -
Mature height.. 25 to 30 feet, smaller
in lower-numbered growing zones
Mature spread.. 20 feet
Form.. Graceful and layered, with a rounded
crown; makes an excellent accent tree.
Fruit.. Striking red samaras add to the
spring beauty of the tree, emerging just after the bright red leaves begin to darken in color near the end of spring.
Flowers.. Small purple to red flowers
in early spring.
Foliage.. Deciduous; bright red leaves
turn dark red to deep purple through summer, then back to a brilliant, clear red in fall. (Probably the brightest red fall
color of any tree!) Leaves are simple, opposite, deeply lobed.
Growth rate.. Fast when young (up to
two feet per year), slowing after about 10 years. (See the growth chart for pictures.)
Culture.. Grows best in full sun, but
benefits from some afternoon shade on the hottest summer days. Ideally, the tree should be protected from winter wind, but
it is actually quite a tough plant. This tree needs slow soakings the first two or three years to be kept evenly moist, and
requires a well-drained, rich soil to thrive. Wet, soggy soil will kill the tree! But most losses occur when the newly planted
trees are not given enough water. Spring and fall colors will be most attractive if planted in a full sun location, but the
leaves will turn very dark red (many people would call this dark purple or brown) in the oppressive summer heat.
Best time to prune.. In fall, after the
leaves have fallen.
Fun Fact.. While it's true that any Japanese
maple would have originated in Japan, the Bloodgood was born at Bloodgood Nursery in Long Island, N.Y.
Julie's Comments.. (June
2004) This red maple tree is not to be confused with towering red maple shade trees like the Red Sunset red maple (Acer rubrum - 'Red Sunset'). The Latin word Acer refers to the genus to which the plant belongs, or the plant's
family name, and the word palmatum (for the Japanese red maple) corresponds to the plant's given name. So, the Japanese
red maple (Acer palmatum) is the Red Sunset's brother. "Bloodgood" refers to this particular palmatum's variety name,
and distinguishes this tree as unique among the Acer palmatums of the world. A Bloodgood Japanese Red Maple is actually a
hybrid or a clone of the Acer palmatums. Within the Acer palmatum group, many variations appear. Some are green leafed, some
are weeping, some are lacy and extremely delicate, some are small bushes. All of these varieties are quite different from
our Bloodgood. Sound confusing? That's why plants are often referred to by their scientific name (or botanical name or Latin
name), rather than common names. Calling a tree a red maple in one part of the world simply isn't specific enough. Indeed,
look at the various red maples in my yard alone. I've got six of them and they are all unique!
The Bloodgood Japanese red maple is truly a special tree, valued for its ornamental, layered look and elegance in
almost any landscape. Not only are the leaves a beautiful color in spring and fall, but they are also distinctively shaped
and the seeds are a brilliant red color as well. Dark purple twigs and stems add winter interest, as does the tree's graceful
shape. What wonders God has given us with so many beautiful things living right in our own yards!
Planting date.. May 1999.
This tree was a Mother's Day gift from my family, and what a truly special gift it was! My husband delivered it, burlap ball
and all, from the trunk of his car and I never saw a tree arrive from the nursery looking so healthy. At planting time, the
tree was not quite six feet tall and had a 1.5-inch trunk. I am amazed at how fast it grew in its first years here!
DO OVER?.. Yes.