Acer shirasawanum Moonrise is a medium size upright maple with varied color throughout the growing season. From pink-red, peach, orange, lime-green and gold – the new growth can be a kaleidoscope of color. The leaves are reticulated and show some variegation on individual leaves from light green to gold, bronze, orange and red. Summer color is yellow-green, gold and orange.
Acer shirasawanum Moonrise was found as a chance seedling and was propagated by Carl Munn of Munn’s Nursery in Oregon. This seedling was most likely from another cousin – Autumn Moon. Both maples are similar in size and shape but the colored leaves are more vibrant. Both Moonrise and Autumn Moon are related to the ‘Golden Full Moon’ maple – Aureum.
As a one-woman operation I endeavor to select maples that are more rare and unusual. I have to limit my inventory and when two maples are very similar I usually select one or the other. I thought of discontinuing Autumn Moon in favor of Moonrise, but after a few years of observation I realized that there wasn’t a color change in the fall for Moonrise. The brilliant late summer color just turned brown and the leaves fell off. I wanted to make sure I just didn’t miss the change in color for Moonrise with more than 2,000 maples in my inventory all changing over a period of 4-6 weeks, but I didn’t. No crimson red or orange or gold. I waited for fall again this year and the same thing happened. Well, spring color is one thing, but no fall color is another. I guess I am just going to grow both and be honest about the pros and cons of each.
This maple grows gracefully as an upright, multi-branched, dwarf maple reaching about 6-7′ tall in 10 years. Like Autumn Moon, some shade during the hottest part of the day is preferred. Overall Moonrise has a compact shape, if pruned regularly, which makes it a good selection for a medium-sized garden. For more information, please see Pruning Japanese Maples. Once established hardy to – 20 degrees, USDA zone 5.
I do want to make a note of feedback I received from a Facebook Group – Japanese Maples and Conifers. According to several maple-lovers in the mid-west and north east both Moonrise and Autumn Moon can handle full sun without burning. I mention this because it has been reported to me, but I have not tested it for myself. When in doubt provide shade in the hottest part of the day for your location. Update as of December 30, 2021 – Moonrise can change from all yellow-green to variegated with all the other colors described from one year to the next. Stay tuned.
Limited Availability – My 2 and 3 gallon Moonrise are in Root Pouches. Please read before you plant. Additionally, Moonrise, Aureum and Autumn Moon are recommended to be shipped FedEx Express. They do not do well in a box for 5-7 days.
The first two photos show container grown maples in my inventory with new spring color. The last photo is Moonrise also grown in a container with partial shade during the summer.