Can you recommend a red-leaved Japanese maple to replace one we lost in a storm?

Is it true that they are an invasive species in New York State? We live in USDA zone 7a.


While Japanese maples (Acer palmatum)  do not fall in any of the top four tiers of invasive characteristics in our state, of which only the very top tier is restricted from purchase, you should be aware that it is a non-native that has escaped cultivation with moderately invasive tendencies.  Widespread use increases the chance that it will become a problem, but for now it is only a monitored species of unknown threat. Some municipalities have their own ordinances on what can be planted and the precautions that homeowners must take to contain plants (especially running bamboos) so that is something you may wish to investigate with your town before replanting.

We can recommend some good Japanese maple cultivars to replace the lost tree, with the red coloration that you like. All are suitable to conditions in USDA zone 7a.

Acer palmatum var. atropurpureum cultivars:

  • 'Bloodgood': slow growing, rounded shape, achieving about 18' at maturity; superior retention of red color in summer heat

  •  'Crimson Prince': similar to 'Bloodgood' but brighter red leaf color

  • 'Emperor': similar but more purple-red leaf color

  • 'Red Sentinel': a smaller tree, about 8' with strong red color

  • 'Shaina': a dwarf version of 'Bloodgood' growing only 5' tall

  • 'Sherwood Flame': burgundy in summer, bright red in fall

Acer palmatum var. dissectum atropurpureum and cultivars:

The Dissectum Group has a more finely dissected, ferny, leaf type with more lobes and toothed edges than those above. The species, Acer palmatum var.  dissectum atropurpureum, also known as Acer palmatum 'Dissectum Atropurpureum' has rich red leaves that turn deep orange in fall.  Grows about 8' tall with a mounded shape.

  • 'Red Select': purple-red in spring, crimson in fall and holds its color in summer better than most in the Dissectum Group. Relatively fast-growing to 8'.

  • 'Red Dragon': early leaves are bright cherry colored, then burgundy. 6 to 8' tall.

  • 'Red Filigree Lace'as the name suggests, very fluttery, deeply dissected leaves and excellent red color.

  • 'Tamukeyama': an excellent purple-red cultivar that can grow over 10' tall with time.

Dappled shade is the best spot for one of these trees. If the planting area becomes increasingly shady, you might want to do some trimming of the canopy to let in a little light or you risk having the leaves of the tree revert to a more greenish-red color.

Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service

  • Last Updated Jun 19, 2024
  • Views 27
  • Answered By Leslie Coleman

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