Summergold Japanese Maple Trees – Acer Palmatum ‘Summergold’
Originating from the far East, the Acer Palmatum ‘Summergold’, or Summergold Japanese Maple, has earned its place in the hearts of garden enthusiasts worldwide, including in the United Kingdom. It owes its popularity to its robust nature, vibrant colour displays, and compatibility with various climates.
Description and Characteristics
The Summergold Japanese Maple is prized for its striking leaf colour and graceful structure. Its leaves are a rich golden yellow during spring and summer, transitioning into vibrant hues of orange and red in the autumn. This radiant display provides a stark contrast to the often muted tones of many native UK trees such as the English Oak or Common Beech.
With a beautiful, rounded growth habit, the Summergold Japanese Maple creates an intricate branching structure, forming a dense, picturesque canopy. This combination of attractive form and radiant colour makes it a beautiful centrepiece in a variety of garden designs.
The Summergold is a small to medium-sized tree, typically reaching heights between 3-5 meters (10-16 feet) at maturity, with a spread of around 4 meters (13 feet). Its moderate growth rate of about 30-40cm per year makes it an ideal choice for gardens where a slower-growing, manageable tree is desired.
The lifespan of a Summergold Japanese Maple is typically between 60 to over 100 years, given optimal conditions. One of the tallest Summergold Japanese Maples in the UK stands at approximately 5 meters in a private garden in Devon.
Flowering, Berries, and Reproduction
In late spring, the Summergold Japanese Maple produces small, reddish-purple flowers that bloom in clusters, further enhancing its colourful display. As the flowers fade, they give way to samaras – winged seeds which transition from green to red as autumn progresses. These samaras are carried away by the wind, enabling the tree to disperse its seeds and naturally propagate.
Benefits to Wildlife
Even though the Summergold Japanese Maple is not native to the UK, it provides an array of benefits to local wildlife. Its dense canopy is a valuable shelter and potential nesting site for various bird species, while its seeds serve as a food source for some wildlife. The tree’s flowers attract a range of pollinators, contributing to local biodiversity.
Ideal for British Gardens
Summergold Japanese Maples are well-suited to the British climate. They prefer a sheltered position, ideally in partial shade or full sun, as long as the soil is well-drained and kept consistently moist. Their robust nature, combined with their vibrant colour display and manageable size, make them a popular choice among UK garden designers.
Distribution in the UK
Although not native to the UK, Summergold Japanese Maples are commonly found in domestic gardens, public parks, and botanical gardens throughout the country. Areas with temperate climates, like the South of England, offer the ideal conditions for these trees. You can spot beautiful examples in places such as the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey.
To sum it up, the Summergold Japanese Maple is a radiant addition to any British garden. It offers a stunning display of colour changes throughout the year, manageable growth rate, and supports local wildlife. With proper care, this tree can become a spectacular focal point in any garden, contributing beauty and tranquillity.