Acer palmatum dissectum Shu shidare is a lace leaf maple with awesome color changes throughout the spring, summer, and fall. This variegated maple shows various tints of lavender, pink and pale green color in the spring. Summer color is variegated green and red. The bark is purple in color which makes for a very desirable cultivar. An open form showing some of the bark is recommended. The fall color is quite exquisite turning from orange to crimson red. Morning sun with afternoon shade is recommended, however, my Shu shidare is growing in full sun and I have not seen any burning. This a moderate grower that can reach 4′ tall and wide in 10 years. Once established hardy to -20 degrees, zone 5.
Acer palmatum dissectum Shu shidare has a rigid and upright form that seems to require less staking to obtain a nice height. Most low grafted lace leaf maples must be staked or the branches will lay on the ground. If allowed to grow like this for a couple of years it is near impossible to straighten the branches. I stake all of my low graft lace leaf maples until they are about 3′ tall. This allows the trunk to get sturdy and create a cascade of branches and lacy leaves. I like to allow one level of branching and then continue to stake a terminal branch higher and higher. This gives a multi-layered look that adds to the cascade effect. Staking and pruning are very important when training a lace leaf weeper to look fantastic. A good result you will get nods of admiration from your friends and neighbors. I am using the term ‘dissectum’ in my description of lace leaf maples – it is the correct botanical name for such maples with a strong dissected [lacy] leaf. For more information seePruning Japanese Maples.
The first photo shows my specimen Shu shidare with new spring growth. The second photo is courtesy of BuchholzNursery showing the color of summer leaves. The last two photos again show my maple changing to fall color.