Acer palmatum First Ghost has spring leaves that are nearly white and reticulated with red edges around each leaf. The visibility of the veins in the leaves which can be said to be the skeleton-like structure of the maple – hence a ‘ghostly’ one. The red color on the edge of the leaf slowly fades and in the shade the leaves remain mostly white with visible veins. Often during the summer the whitish leaves seem more green or even somewhat yellow and then in August there is a flush of new growth before the temperatures get cold and the days get shorter. This environmental change causes stress in the maples so they begin to change to fall color. For First Ghost this begins with yellow turning to orange and finally crimson.
Acer palmatum First Ghost prefers morning sun and afternoon shade. A relatively slow growing maple – First Ghost may reach 5′ in 10 years with a spread nearly as wide. The whitish green leaves provide a focal point in a shady garden. First Ghost also makes a wonderful container plant for a covered deck or patio. Once established hardy to USDA zone 6.
First Ghost, like all maples requires good drainage. Planting in clay soil creates a ‘bathtub’ that water will fill up and drown your maple. You need to you create a raised bed or a small mound above the clay. More information about dealing with clay soil is discussed inPlanting Japanese MaplesandMounding Japanese Maples.
For maple collectors or as we call ourselves maple-holics I would like to recommend a wonderful Facebook Group –Japanese Maples and Conifers. This is a group of knowledgeable maple enthusiasts with a wealth of good information and great photos. Though this is a private group – anyone who has a Facebook account is welcome to join – just ask.
The first photo shows the white leaves with red edges. The remaining photos show my First Ghost display garden specimen in June, then late August and finally October with total fall color