Japanese Maples with Bark Interest

Japanese Maples with Bark Interest - Maple Ridge Nursery

Japanese maples are known for their elegant shapes and structures and even more for their stunning foliage. As deciduous trees that drop their leaves in the winter, many people believe that Japanese maples are only interesting in spring, summer, and fall. What most people don't realize is that there are many varieties of Japanese maples that have interesting and colorful bark that displays brightly when the leaves are gone. Continue reading to learn about all the different types of bark interest that Japanese maples can have.

Coral Bark Japanese Maples

Coral Bark Japanese Maples are prized for their striking coral red colored bark, which becomes particularly vibrant during the winter months. These deciduous trees are characterized by palmate leaves and a moderate size, making them ideal for various garden settings.

The hallmark feature of Coral Bark Japanese Maples is their coral red colored bark, adding a pop of color to winter landscapes. The young branches exhibit hues ranging from bright coral to reddish pink, sometimes even displaying some hues of orange. This creates a visual spectacle even when other plants are dormant. Beyond the bark, the leaves contribute to the tree's charm, transitioning from fresh green in spring to vibrant yellow, orange, or even red in the fall.

Coral Bark Japanese Maples thrive in partial shade, although they can tolerate full sun in cooler climates. They will need at least some direct sunlight throughout the day to bring out the red color in the bark during the winter months.

In spring, Coral Bark Japanese Maples showcase fresh green leaves that contribute to the overall lush appearance of the tree. The coral red color of the bark is usually still present in the early spring and contrasts very nicely with the bright green leaves of early spring.

During the summer months, the foliage continues to provide a verdant backdrop, enhancing the tree's beauty in the garden. By this time most of the reddish color has disappeared, but there are often slight red hues throughout the bark even during the warmer months.

As fall approaches, the leaves undergo a transformation, displaying vibrant hues of yellow, orange, and red before gracefully falling. Coral Bark Japanese maples display some of the best fall color of any category of Japanese maple. The fall foliage display is often more spectacular than the winter bark show that these wonderful Japanese maples are known for.

The main allure of Coral Bark Japanese Maples comes to life in winter when the coral-colored bark takes center stage, offering a stunning contrast to the winter landscape. With other deciduous trees being bare and evergreens typically holding green foliage, these red barked trees contrast exceptionally well with the rest of the winter garden. 

Coral Bark Japanese Maples make excellent focal points in gardens, drawing attention with their unique bark color and attractive foliage throughout the year. Here are a few excellent examples of Coral Bark Japanese Maples:

Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’

Acer palmatum ‘Sango kaku’ is most commonly referred to as the coral bark Japanese maple. This name describes the most distinguishing characteristic that this tree has. In the wintertime the bark of ‘Sango kaku’ develops a bright, coral red that is quite striking and noteworthy. ‘Sango kaku’ is an upright growing Japanese maple with a tall and slender mature shape. Acer palmatum ‘Sango kaku’ is one of the most popular Japanese maples there is due to its strong growth habit, its excellent fall color, and its famous coral bark color. We try to grow as many ‘Sango kaku’ Japanese maple trees as we can.

Acer palmatum ‘Wildfire’

Acer palmatum ‘Wildfire’ is a brilliant, coral bark Japanese maple with light green leaves in the spring. This foliage eventually turns golden yellow to orange in the fall. ‘Wildfire’ has incredible winter interest as well with yellow to red colored bark.

Acer palmatum ‘Japanese Sunrise’

Acer palmatum ‘Japanese Sunrise’ is a fast growing coral bark selection that has wonderful variations in its bark color. While bark colors can range from almost yellow to bright red depending on the time of year and the age of bark you are looking at, the orange colors produced in the dead of winter are the most unique. Bark color is always best in full sun and sometimes can show up yellow on the shady side which gives the plant a totally different look depending on the angle from which it is viewed. In spring 'Japanese Sunrise emerges with small lime green leaves that darken as summer takes hold, then in fall change to a quite remarkable shade of yellow.

Yellow Bark Japanese Maples

Yellow Bark Japanese Maples bring a burst of sunshine to the garden. Yellow Bark Japanese Maples stand out for their radiant, golden-yellow bark that shines bright during the winter months. These deciduous trees boast not only distinctive bark color but also palmate leaves that add to their overall visual appeal.

The standout feature of Yellow Bark Japanese Maples is their vibrant golden-yellow bark. This feature becomes particularly prominent in winter, providing a stunning contrast to the landscape. Beyond the bark, the leaves add to the tree's allure, transitioning through various colors during the seasons. These leaves vary quite a bit among the few varieties of yellow bark Japanese maples.

Yellow Bark Japanese Maples thrive in full to partial shade. Unlike the coral bark Japanese maples, the yellow in these varieties is actually more pronounced in shady situations. Too much sun can alter the color of the bark or even cause sun burn on the bark.

In spring, Yellow Bark Japanese Maples exhibit fresh green leaves that contribute to the overall lush appearance of the tree. Much like the coral bark Japanese maples, these yellow bark varieties maintain quite a bit of the yellow bark coloring in the spring. This provides an interesting appearance of yellow bark and green leaves which is quite attractive.

During the summer months, the foliage continues to provide a vibrant backdrop, enhancing the tree's beauty in the garden. Unlike coral bark Japanese maples, yellow bark Japanese maples still hold quite a bit of their bark color in the summer. They will actually maintain some amount of bark color pretty much all year. Summer can be a particularly nice time of year for yellow bark Japanese maples as the green foliage darkens and really contrasts with the yellow bark.

The leaves undergo a spectacular transformation, showcasing shades of gold, orange, and red before gently falling, adding to the seasonal spectacle. The fall color display for yellow bark Japanese maples is dependent on the variety. These can range from bright yellow which shines especially bright in unison with the yellow bark or bright orange and red which stands out in the landscape on its own. 

The true magic unfolds in winter when the golden-yellow bark takes center stage, creating a visual masterpiece against the winter landscape. Combinations of green, blue, and yellow conifers coupled with coral and yellow bark Japanese maples can make a winter landscape just as attractive as any other season.

Yellow Bark Japanese Maples make stunning focal points in gardens, attracting attention with their radiant bark color and complementary foliage. They also work great as complimentary plants to add contrast in the garden. Yellow bark Japanese maples also work great in darker areas of the garden to help brighten up a darker spot. Here are a few of the best examples of Yellow Bark Japanese Maples:

Acer palmatum ‘Bihou’

Acer palmatum ‘Bihou’ has become highly sought after due to its unique yellow bark. 'Bihou’ translates to beautiful mountain range. Chartreuse new leaves appear edged in red before turning a more medium green for summer. Fall color is yellow sometimes blended with orange. The real interest happens in winter when the bark turns bright yellow and glows. 'Bi hou' is an outstanding addition to the winter garden and can be paired with 'Sango kaku' or other similar trees to create a more dramatic effect.

Acer palmatum ‘Dixie Delight’

Acer palmatum ‘Dixie Delight’ was introduced right here at Maple Ridge Nursery. 'Dixie Delight' is a promising new maple born of the south with both heat and cold tolerance. Mainly selected for the wonderful variation in bark color this tree puts on a show in every season. It starts in spring with beautiful green leaves edged in red held up on bright red shoots. In summer leaves hold a very nice deep green. Fall color is bright reddish orange. In winter the real show begins when the bark changes first to orange and then to yellow as temperatures get colder.

Acer palmatum ‘Gold Digger’

Acer palmatum ‘Gold Digger’ is a new variety with unique winter bark interest. Similar to ‘Bihou’ and ‘Dixie Delight’, ‘Gold Digger’ boasts excellent, light yellow bark especially during the winter. The pale yellow color of the bark differentiates ‘Gold Digger’ from these other two varieties. The leaves of ‘Gold digger’ are green spring and summer before turning yellow to orange in the fall.

Green Bark Japanese Maples

Green Bark Japanese Maples, characterized by their distinctive emerald-hued bark, are a symbol of understated elegance in the garden. Green Bark Japanese Maples captivate with their subtle yet striking green bark. These deciduous trees showcase not only a distinct bark color but also intricate foliage, creating a wonderful aesthetic in any garden setting.

The hallmark of Green Bark Japanese Maples is their tranquil green bark, offering a unique and refreshing visual element. While the bark may not undergo a dramatic change like some counterparts, the trees boast beautiful, palmate leaves that add to their overall allure.

Green Bark Japanese Maples thrive in partial shade, though they can tolerate full sun in cooler climates. Green bark Japanese maples will also grow quite well in full shade where they can help to brighten up a darker spot in the garden.

In spring, the trees come to life with fresh green leaves, contributing to the overall verdant appearance of the tree. The green leaves on top of the green bark really makes for a vibrant display of light green color.

The foliage continues to provide a lush and vibrant backdrop, enhancing the tree's beauty throughout the summer months. The green bark might be a little more dull in the summer but the leaves typically maintain a vibrant green throughout the hotter months.

As fall approaches, the leaves transition to bright and captivating displays of golds, oranges, and reds. Each individual variety will have its own combination of fantastic fall colors ranging from yellow to red.

While not as dramatic as some other varieties, the evergreen charm of the green bark persists, providing a serene and enduring beauty to the winter landscape. Green bark Japanese Maples paired with red and yellow bark Japanese maples can really create an interesting appearance in a winter landscape. Here are a few beautiful examples of Green Bark Japanese Maples:

Acer palmatum ‘Aoyagi’

Acer palmatum ‘Aoyagi’ means green coral and the green coral bark is considered to be the most outstanding feature of this tree. The leaves in spring come out an amazing chartreuse before turning more green in summer. Fall color is yellow.

Acer palmatum ‘Kawahara no midori’

Acer palmatum 'Kawahara no midori' is a fast growing, upright Japanese maple with bright green leaves and bright green bark. Many Japanese maples have a greenish bark when young, but it’s a much more natural looking green. 'Kawahara no midori' has bright green bark that actually stands out in a crowd of other plants. The leaves of 'Kawahara no midori' are green in the spring and summer and turn bright yellow in the fall.

Acer palmatum ‘Shidiva Gold’

Acer palmatum 'Shidiva Gold' is a smaller form of 'Aoyagi'. 'Shidiva Gold' is known for its bright green foliage, green bark, and compact structure. The leaves of 'Shidiva Gold' emerge in the spring with a bright, chartreuse green color that only slightly fades into a light green in the summer. These leaves then turn to a bright yellow in the fall.

Variegated Japanese Maples with Striped Bark

Variegated Japanese Maples, renowned for their stunning foliage, unveil an additional layer of charm with their distinctive striped bark. Some variegated Japanese Maples, feature not only eye-catching leaves but also exquisite striped bark. These deciduous trees showcase a beautiful blend of colors between their leaves and their bark, creating a kaleidoscope of colors that elevates any garden.

The standout feature of variegated Japanese maples is their multi-colored leaves, but some of these varieties also display striped bark, characterized by alternating bands of colors, often ranging from cream to pink to light green. This captivating pattern adds a layer of sophistication to the trees, complementing their variegated foliage.

Variegated Japanese Maples thrive in partial to full shade, though some varieties can tolerate some sunlight.

In spring, variegated Japanese maples come to life with a burst of fresh leaves showcasing a delightful mix of colors. The striped bark adds an additional layer of visual interest to the emerging foliage. Spring is when variegated Japanese maple shine the most and stand out incredibly above their fellow trees.

In many variegated varieties of Japanese maples the variegated leaves will dissipate during the warmer summer months. There are many different styles of variegation. Some styles will maintain all year long, while some will become dull or even disappear by the summer. Most of the varieties that exhibit the striped bark will have pockets of variegation across the tree even into the summer. The striped bark continues to be a charming feature, especially as the tree grows.

As fall approaches, the leaves transition to warm hues of orange and red, and the striped bark becomes even more pronounced, offering a captivating contrast to the changing foliage. These variegated Japanese maples are not typically known for their fall colors but they can put on some nice displays as the temperatures cool.

While the variegated foliage may be dormant, the striped bark remains an ever-present source of interest in the winter landscape, adding elegance to the garden. This striped bark is much more subtle than that of the red and yellow barked Japanese maples, but this rainbow of colors along the bark is a very unique and intriguing characteristic to add to these already beautifully variegated Japanese maples. Here are a few amazing examples of Variegated Japanese Maples with Striped Bark:

Acer palmatum ‘Oridino nishiki’

Acer palmatum ‘Oridino nishiki’ is a medium size upright growing Japanese maple with incredible variegated color. Some leaves on ‘Oridino nishiki’ may have green, white or pink, or sometimes all three. Under perfect conditions, this can be one of the most incredible Japanese maples in cultivation. Unfortunately, these perfect conditions don’t often exist and this variegation is often lost. ‘Oridino nishki’ is of course still a tree worth having as the variegation that it does have is almost unmatched. Another unique characteristic of ‘Oridino nishiki’ is that the bark often has long stripes of reds and oranges, adding even more interest to this great tree.

Acer palmatum ‘Asahi zuru’

Acer palmatum ‘Asahi zuru’ is a medium sized Japanese maple with intense variegation. This tree is splashed with pinks and whites and greens. These colors are similar but more consistent than the classic ‘Oridino nishiki’. ‘Asahi zuru’ will have occasional pink striations on the bark.  Like most variegated varieties, ‘Asahi zuru’ should be planted in part shade for the best color, or at least given protection from the hot afternoon sun.

Acer palmatum ‘Cotton Candy' 

Acer palmatum 'Cotton Candy' is a great Japanese maple with outstanding pink and white variegation. 'Cotton Candy' has splashes of this pink and white color scattered all across its otherwise green foliage. 'Cotton Candy' is a strong variegated Japanese maple and holds these variegated colors deep into the summer. Fall color is an impressive orange.

Rough Bark Japanese Maples

Rough Bark Japanese Maples, distinguished by their textured and tactile bark, add a new dimension of visual interest to garden landscapes. Rough Bark Japanese Maples are celebrated for their textured bark that stands out among other Japanese maple cultivars which typically have a smooth bark texture. While these varieties are known for their textured bark, they also exhibit appealing foliage throughout the year especially in the fall when they put on a show.

The hallmark feature of Rough Bark Japanese Maples is their rough and deeply furrowed bark, adding a tactile element to their visual appeal. This texture evolves over time, giving the tree a sense of age and character. In addition to the rough bark, these maples typically showcase palmate leaves that enhance their overall charm. Rough Bark Japanese Maples thrive in partial shade, though they can tolerate some sunlight.

In spring, these trees come to life with fresh leaves, complementing the textured bark. The contrast between the emerging foliage and the rough bark creates a visually striking scene. The rough bark on these varieties typically carries with it a much darker than usual bark color. A dark, almost pine bark colored brown covers the trunk and aging branches on these exquisite varieties. The bright green foliage in the spring really stands out above this dark background.

Throughout the summer months, the textured bark remains a constant source of interest, providing a backdrop to the lush foliage. The bark's rugged appearance adds character to the overall landscape. The leaves on rough bark Japanese maples maintain their green color throughout the summer, but the brightness fades as the temperatures rise.

As fall approaches, the leaves transition to a range of florescent oranges and reds, further enhancing the visual appeal of the textured bark. The combination of autumn foliage and rough bark creates a captivating spectacle. These varieties are not necessarily known for their fall color but they can be a real show stopper and can carry your garden through the fall color display.

The show is not over when the leaves fall on these excellent rough bark Japanese maple varieties. While the leaves may be dormant, the Rough Bark Japanese Maples shine during winter. The textured bark takes center stage, offering a unique and picturesque view in the winter garden. The bark becomes a sign of age and elegance, and is a must have for any landscape. Here are a few awesome examples of Rough Bark Japanese Maples:

Acer palmatum ‘Arakawa’

Acer palmatum 'Arakawa' translates to rough bark and that perfectly describes the most outstanding feature of this interesting cultivar. It takes 3-5 years for the bark to begin to develop its texture, but once it begins to develop it soon becomes an amazing site. The bark on older plants looks like that of a pine tree. The leaves of the new growth emerge with a yellow tint turning green as summer arrives before turning beautiful tones of orange and red or in fall. 'Arakawa' is a great Japanese Maple for bonsai.

Acer palmatum ‘Nishiki gawa’

Acer palmatum ‘Nishiki gawa’ is an upright growing Japanese maple with green leaves. The most remarkable thing about ‘Nishiki gawa’ is the rough, pine bark the tree develops with age. This is a very unique look compared to the majority of Japanese maples that have smooth bark. ‘Nishiki gawa’ has a vibrant orange fall color.

Acer palmatum ‘Nishiki yamato’

Acer palmatum 'Nishiki yamato' is a fast growing Japanese maple that develops rough rough bark similar to a pine tree as it ages. 'Nishiki yamato' has bright green leaves in the spring that darken to a solid green in the summer. These leaves then turn to a bright orange to red in the fall. 'Nishiki yamato' is a very fast growing tree and develops its rough bark quicker than many other rough bark Japanese maples as well.

These Japanese maples with bark interest add the fourth season of interest to the garden that is usually reserved for evergreens. Mixing in a multitude of these Japanese maple varieties with bark interest will give your landscape an added boost in the winter and can make it just as spectacular during the colder months.