By Gary Wade
University of Georgia
The original seedling selection from which others have been propagated can be seen at the entrance to the Callaway Building at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens.
Unlike many Japanese maples that require shade and moist, organic soils, Glowing Embers thrives in full sun. It's hardy in zones 5 to 8, and it tolerates drought better than most trees in its class.
It won't tolerate wet sites, however, or sites where extreme fluctuations in soil moisture are common. Good soil drainage is essential.
Glowing Embers?Glowing Embers Japanese maple is aptly named. It provides a kaleidoscope of color in the fall as the leaves fade from green to purple, flourescent orange or yellow, much like the ever-changing and mesmerizing embers of a wood fire.
The color sequence of each leaf varies as autumn deepens. A single branch may display four distinctly different colors at the same time.
Glowing Embers is a medium-size deciduous tree, growing 30 to 40 feet high with an equal spread. Its leaves are finely toothed, 2 to 3 inches long and about 3 inches wide with five distinct, pointed lobes. The tree has a dense canopy when it's in full leaf. It's an excellent shade tree for residential landscapes where space is limited.
Easy propagationUnlike other Japanese maples that are grafted onto a rootstock, Glowing Embers is called a "clonal" selection. That means it's propagated from cuttings and isn't grafted onto a rootstock. Nurserymen refer to this as "growing on its own roots." They love this characteristic because it makes their production more efficient and less time-consuming.
Once it's established, Glowing Embers will benefit from spring applications of a complete garden fertilizer such as 16-4-8 or 12-4-8.
Prune it as needed to thin out branches and develop a desired shape. Although the tree has above-average drought tolerance, be prepared to provide some supplemental irrigation during droughts.
Glowing Embers Japanese maple is quickly becoming a highly demanded and popular plant in the nursery industry as landscape professionals and home gardeners discover its award-winning qualities.
(Gary Wade is an Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)