Weeping Japanese Maple
"The sap of my life goes upward,
Obeying the same sweet law
That waters the heart of the maple
After a thaw."
Green laceleaf, threadleaf, or cutleaf weeping Japanese maple (Acer palmatum dissectum 'Viridis') matures to a naturally formal mounded cascading weeper. It can be pruned for a "mushroom cap" appearance, or left unpruned so that its branches weep clear to the ground.
It reaches six feet in ten years. It can be trained via staking to grow taller. It will be much wider than it is tall, likely ten or twelve feet wide in ten years.
Artful pruning year by year can further limit its size, & it is even a popular bonzai item, but for a carefree tree that needs no attention it should be given the space to become the large weeping mound it wants to be.
It likes moist well-draining soil, never too wet. It needs at least a little bit of afternoon shade or its delicately lacy leaves will be burned.
Varieties with wider leaf-types would be more apt to be tolerant of fuller sun, though young Japanese maples are in essence semi-shade trees, & laceleaf varieties tend as a group to be more sun-sensitive.
Mulching is useful to help keep the fibrous root system moist in summer. It can be grown in zones 6 through 8, but becomes delicate in zones with warmer summers.
It has red-highlighted orange-gold autumn colors, holding its wondrously colorful leaves for several weeks before falling.
These golden colors are very distinct from the autumn crimsons of purple-leaf maples, so 'Viridis' can be a marvelous contrast-companion with something like its red twin 'Crimson Queen.' Their leaves will provide startling contrasts spring through autumn.
The first two photos show 'Viridis' early in April. The third & fourth photos are of another specimen nearing the height of its October color, yellow with golden-red hues. The larger 'Viridis' in the first two photos has more yellow with fewer reddish hues in autumn.
An early cold-snap can cause the autumn leaves to turn brown & crisp & cling to the branches until spring, but this is not a sign of actual injury. Usually the leaves will fall loose mid to late autumn while still in full color. The naked tree remains structurally fascinating for winter interest.
'Viridis' is usually cultivated by cuttings & graftings. The seeds are difficult to germinate, but they can be grown from seed, though any resulting tree may not be identical to the parent.
As a startling aside about maples generally, the name Maple could well date to the Stone Age as a word from the earliest proto-language of humankind, surving as mapul or mapeltreow in old English, mo-opul in old Norse, mapulder in old German, mailp in Gaelic, in Welsh mapwl.
As a tree sacred to the paleolithic Mother Goddess, Maple originally meant "Ma's Nipple," or "Tree of Mother's Nourishment." This is also the original of the word Apple, related to the Indo-European abel meaning any tree with edible fruits or drinkable sap.
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