Acer palmatum Kenbu is a rare dwarf maple that has thin green leaves in the spring. The bark is a dark reddish color which provides a beautiful contrast to the light green leaves and makes this cultivar very unique. Additionally, when most maples with pink-red spring growth turn green in the summer – Kenbu is the opposite. The leaves start out green and sometimes turn red in the summer. The first one I saw was in 2017 and I was hooked – it was stunning. I began my quest to grow Kenbu and share it with other maple-lovers.
A moderate growing maple – Kenbu may add 5-8″ of new growth per year with good growing conditions. Remember a Japanese Maple need good drainage. The most important aspect of planting your maple is the right location with good drainage. Planting in a hole in clay soil can be a killer. To learn about handling clay soil – please see Planting Japanese Maplesand Mounding Japanese Maples.Additionally, ongoing care of your maples is important to maximize their long lasting beauty. I recommend reading Care and Maintenance of Japanese Maples and Pruning Japanese Maples to understand how and when trimming your maple should occur. The more you know, the more you will appreciate these amazing and adaptable landscape trees.
Acer palmatum Kenbu can handle full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil. In the summer the leaves begin to turn red and finish in the fall with a strong crimson red. Estimated height is 6′ tall in 10 years. Once established this maple is hardy to -20 degrees. USDA zone 5. Acer palmatum Kenbu – looks like bamboo – but doesn’t spread.
If you love Japanese Maples as much as I do, you can learn more about these amazing trees by joining the Facebook Group – Japanese Maples and Conifers.It is free to join – you just have to be a Facebook member and the contributors to the group have a wealth of experience and lots of photos. This is what I value the most – learning about variations of growth, leaf size and color in different sections of the USA and around the world. I often participate in the discussions.
First photo shows the thin green leaves and dark bark in spring. Second photo was taken in September with the beginning of fall color. Both of these photos were taken here at the nursery.