Story by David Longron

The coral bark Japanese maple is often overlooked in favor of its many crimson-leafed cousins. Fall colors range from golden yellow to a bright orange, and the leaves tend to persist on the branches for some time. In winter this little tree really begins to steal the show in the garden. After the leaves have fallen the stems and smaller branches turn a brilliant shade of coral, providing much needed color when few other plants do.

Coral bark maples have lovely yellow to bright orange fall color. Photo by David Longron.

Like most Japanese maples, coral barks prefer well-drained, moist soils for best results. They are tolerant of sun, but full western exposures should be avoided if possible. They are excellent as specimen trees or as part of an informal garden.

In winter the red branches of the coral bark maple add landscape interest. Photo by David Longron.

Quick Facts and Keys to Success
Common Name: Coral bark Japanese maple (‘Sango-kaku’)
Botanical Name: Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’
Hardiness Zones: 5-8
Type: Deciduous tree
Size: 20-25 feet tall, 10-20 feet wide
Exposure: Partial shade to sun. Western exposures should be avoided if possible.
Soil: Moist well-drained locations are best.
Maintenance: Little pruning or fertilization required after establishment
Uses: Great specimen plant or as part of informal garden setting.

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