Coral Bark Japanese Maple


Location Toronto, Etobicoke, north, away from the lake. Planting location west side of house partially protected by 9 ft purple beech hedge. See conflicting info on the shape. Is it a globe shape or columnar? Some tape show columnar while online it’s says globe? Would it require winter protection? Looking for an ornamental tree, not columnar to provide replace hydrangeas and provide some height and a bit of privacy to front window


The coral bark Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’) is considered globe-shaped or vase-shaped, not columnar. At maturity, the tree might totally block your view from the main floor window (and perhaps the second floor window), as it reaches a height of around 6 metres (20 feet), with a spread of 4.5 metres (15 feet).

You might want to consider the dwarf ‘Sango Kaku’, called Acer palmatum ‘Winter Flame’, which grows to around 2 metres (6 feet) – it takes at least 10 years to reach this height.  On the other hand, this may too small and bushy for your needs.

The coral bark Japanese maple does best in full sun to partial shade, in well-draining soil.   It does not like hot, dry spots, such as those that get direct sun all afternoon.  It prefers a relatively sheltered location, and will be protected by the beech hedge you describe, as well as the wall of the house itself.  For winter protection, applying mulch in a thick layer around the root zone (not the trunk) should do the trick.


If you want to further research which Japanese maple would be best for your garden, the Tree Center Plant Supply Co’s The Complete Japanese Maple Guide is very helpful – it includes photos of many varieties of Japanese maple, as well as how care for these trees.   On the last page, a chart of different varieties, which includes the colours of the leaves in summer and autumn, the form and height/spread is included.  While this document is not exhaustive, it should help narrow your search.

I always find it helpful to walk around my neighbourhood to see trees my neighbours have selected, and how these look in their gardens.  If you see something you like, you could ask your neighbour for information about the tree.  A final thought – consider showing the photo to someone at your local nursery, to see if perhaps they have suggestions for other trees that might suit the spot in front of your home, alongside the 9-foot beech hedge.

May 30 2022