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Bloodgood Japanese Maple Named Medallion Winner
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
If your neighborhood has any deep red-bronze Japanese maples growing, they are probably this year's Mississippi Medallion award winning tree, the Bloodgood. This maple has earned the respect of landscapers and gardeners throughout the South.
Like many Southerners, this small maple has a storied past that began overseas. The Bloodgood is believed to be an old variety from The Netherlands that was sold to Bloodgood Nurseries in New York. It is the most highly sought-after and respected Japanese maple in the Deep South.
Bloodgood is brilliant in the spring with new dark bronze- red leaves followed by exotic foliage throughout the summer and a fall blaze of crimson-orange. It may hold the deep red color and never turn green. The leaves are usually five lobed, coupled with two smaller basal lobes.
The attractive red fruit of the Bloodgood is called samara. When shed by the tree, the winged fruit rotate like helicopter blades and fly through the air.
The Bloodgood Japanese maple prefers well drained, moist, slightly acidic soils with morning sun and afternoon shade or areas of dappled light. Now is one of the best times to plant a Japanese maple.
Spread a 4-inch layer of fine pine bark and peat over the bed and till to a depth of 10 inches. Dig the planting hole three to five times as wide as the root ball but no deeper. The top of the root ball should be even with the soil profile. Set the tree in the hole and backfill to two-thirds the depth. Tamp the soil down and water to settle. Then add the remaining backfill, repeating the process. After planting, water and apply a 3-inch layer of mulch.
Supplemental water during the summer and protection from wind goes a long way in preventing scorching and keeping the leaves looking their best. It also will help retain the red leaf color.
Feed in late winter with a light application of a slow release 12-6-6 or 8-8-8 fertilizer and broadcast evenly under the canopy. If grown in a tub, use time-released granules or water-soluble fertilizer in early spring and again in early summer. Maintain moisture and mulch through the summer.
The Bloodgood Japanese maple is a beautiful multi-stemmed tree with a fine-textured appearance. To get this multi-stemmed look and graceful appearance, selectively prune during its early years of establishment.
It is an upright grower, reaching 15 feet in height, occasionally 20 feet, making it ideal for the urban home.
The Japanese maple is the ultimate accent or focal point for a garden. They deserve to be seen and admired. The Bloodgood is at home in a garden with azaleas, dogwoods and Louisiana phlox. The Bloodgood also excels in a large container on a patio or deck and would be considered the signature plant for the Oriental- style garden.
Shop for yours today. Look for the point-of-sale material, and you will see why the Bloodgood Japanese maple has been selected as a 2000 Mississippi Medallion winner.