Acer palmatum Summer Gold is becoming one of my favorite maples with its changing colors from spring to fall. In the spring this cultivar has yellow leaves with some hints of orange. If grown with 4-5 hours of morning sun during summer months the leaves turn to a darker yellow with pink and red tints. In late summer the leaves show ever increasing amounts of pink and red that is particularly eye-catching. During fall the color of the leaves deepen to pink-orange and then to scarlet red. This evolution of color from spring through fall is especially beautiful and makes this maple a stand-out. The growth habit is tree-like and it can reach up to 10′ tall and 6′ wide in 10 years. In cooler climates Summer Gold can handle full sun, but with hot summers morning sun with afternoon shade is best. Once established hardy to -20 degrees – USDA zone 5.
Acer palmatum Summer Gold requires some pruning like all maples when the maple is young to form the desired structure of the tree. Please see Pruning Japanese Maples. For all maples good drainage is very important. Planting in clay soil can drown your maple unless you create a raised bed above the clay or on a small mound. More information about dealing with clay soil is available atPlanting Japanese Maplesand Mounding 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 yellow leaves during early summer which is an unusual color for most Japanese Maples. The next photos show the evolution of color through fall. All photos were taken at the nursery.