Information on the Filigree Lace Japanese Maple Tree

by Jessica Westover

A broad leaf deciduous tree, the "Red Filigree Lace" Japanese maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum "Red Filigree Lace") produces narrowly lobed, lacy leaves from which it gets its name. Easily identifiable by the combination of its growth habit, height and leaves, this ornamental landscape tree brightens and adds value to its surroundings.

1. Description

Most identifiable by its leaves, the "Red Filigree Lace" Japanese maple produces pink to purplish-red foliage that darkens as the year progresses. Individual leaves sport up to seven, threadlike lobes that hang downward on their petioles and flutter in the wind. In fall, the leaf pigments change to a blazing crimson-red. This slow-growing deciduous tree reaches a mature height of 5 feet with an equal spread. The branches spread outward in a horizontal, sometimes drooping habit.

2. Care

A "Red Filigree Lace" Japanese maple thrives in full to partial sun, meaning it requires at least three to four hours of direct sun. A spot with afternoon shade proves best as it provides the tree's delicate leaves with a respite from the hot afternoon sun. A well-draining soil provides the best balance of moisture and oxygen for the maple's roots. Loamy soils work well, but the "Red Filigree Lace" will adapt to other soil types, except those that remain soggy or boggy. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, this maple cultivar suffers injury from excessive heat.

3. Uses

The bright hues of its foliage give credence to its use as a specimen plant or focal point in the landscape. Its drooping branches and spreading growth habit positioned next to a water feature provide a combination of textures and lines that keep the eye in constant motion. Its small stature makes "Red Filigree Lace" maple a smart choice for a potted tree, a foundation, patio or courtyard planting. As with other Japanese maples, this variety works well in Asian-style gardens.

4. Problems

Verticillium wilt, the most destructive disease of the "Red Filigree Lace" maple, results from the fungus Verticillium dahliae. This fungus lives in the soil and becomes an issue during prolonged periods of low temperatures and wet weather. Once in the plant's system, the fungus blocks the maple's xylem tissue, or cells that transport water, causing leaves to turn yellow then brown and fall from the tree. Another problem of this Japanese maple is its intolerance of heat. When temperatures rise to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, the leaves may burn and branches may die back.