Why are Japanese Maple Trees So Expensive?

Why are Japanese Maple Trees So Expensive?

The scientific name of Japanese Maple is “Acer Palmatum.” The word ‘Acer’ means ‘sharp’ in Latin, and it can be from the Celtic ac, which means ‘hard.’ The other scientific word ‘palmatum’ means hand-like in the Latin world, which refers to the size and shape of the leaves. 

The originality of these expensive trees comes from Japan itself. Japanese Maple grows in some countries like Japan, Korea, and China. However, these trees are rarely found, and the Japanese have cultivated them for more than three hundred years. Interestingly, the tree was not introduced in the land of Japan but England way back in 1820.

What is Japanese Maple?

Japanese Maple can be called by different names such as palmate Maple, smooth Japanese Maple, Momiji in Japanese, or the scientific term ‘Acer Palmatum.’ The tree belongs to wood plant species and is native to Japan, Korea, China, the eastern part of Mongolia, and southeast Russia. One may find different cultivars of such kind that are grown worldwide, but they are not the same as seen in the native lands. 

It is a small tree that grows to a height of 6-10 m and has a width of 4.5-10 meters. When the tree takes its growing stage, it takes a dome-like form. The tree’s leaves grow up to 4-12 cm long, which looks fantastic when grown fully. The small tree produces flowers in small cymes; the independent flower has five red or purple sepals and five whitish petals. 

The tree also produces fruits called ‘samaras .’ Each samara grows about 2-3 cm long with 6-8 mm of its seeds. The fruit of the Japanese Maple tree ripens between September and October. The sap of the samara fruit contains a certain amount of sugar substance that can be used as a drink or boiled in water and consumed as a semi-liquid syrup. The syrup of the fruit is mainly used as a sweetener on many traditional food items. 

The small tree has three subspecies, and they are:-

  • Palmatum
  • Ammonium and 
  • Matsumura 

There is no much difference among the three different species of the Japanese Maple tree. It is only that the overall structure, including leaves, flowers, and seeds of Palmatum, is relatively smaller than the other two species. Also, the Palmatum will only grow in lower altitudes whereas, the Amoenum and Matsumura grow in higher altitudes. 

Japanese Maple: Cultivation

The plant grows the best in Japan, and it has been cultivated in the country for centuries and in temperate areas around the world. It might have been introduced in England or Britain but, they are at their best when cultivated in Japan. 

This Japanese Maple can be grown as single-stemmed small trees or even large-sized multi-stemmed shrubs. It all depends on the cultivator. Yes, the leaves, flowers, and the fruit color of the tree would vary from place to place. 

 Japanese Maple trees are very slow-growing trees, which is one reason why it becomes expensive to purchase. Therefore, such trees must be planted in a suitable land or area and daily care of. 

The tree should be placed in such a place where it is well protected, safe from harsh winter, winds, cloudy weather, and omit low-lying lands or areas. These small-sized trees tend to leaf out very early, and they are susceptible to spring frosts, so they should be maintained very carefully. 

Acer Palmatum grows the best when planted in well-drained soil that is highly acidic in organic matter. These trees could be developed in the standard ground but, the drawback would be slow growth, and trees will experience high stress. 

The Acer Palmatum should be planted when there is full sun, and the soil can be kept slightly moist throughout the summer season. Covering up the ground could be very helpful as it will keep the roots cool and help conserve soil moisture.      

Japanese Maple: Uses 

Many trees and plants worldwide are used for medicinal purposes, and so does the Japanese Maple. Other than its long list of uses, there are many benefits that a human can get from the small tree. Below are the services of Japanese Maple:-

  • The small tree leaves feel pretty similar to the paper that we write, and they can be used to make bouquets in its native country, Japan. 
  • The leaves of the Acer Palmatum are wrapped around apples, roots, other fruits to help preserve them for a long time. 
  • The wood of Acer Palmatum is used in the factory of musical instruments to make violins, guitars, drums, The Harp, Catguts, viola, and many more. 
  • As the leaves of the Acer Palmatum feel pretty similar to paper, the tree is also used in the paper industry. Papers made out of maple trees have excellent writing and printing properties. 
  • A Japanese Maple tree provides shelter, food, and water to wildlife animals or insects. 

Traditional Uses of Japanese Maple 

  • The leaves, twigs, and barks of a Japanese maple tree have been used to cure human beings’ eye complaints and liver troubles. 
  • An ingrain of its leaves, twigs, and barks was used to treat inflamed eyes, sore eyes, hazy vision, dark eyes, infected eyes, or any other type of eye complaint. 
  • Not only in the human body but animals with artificially induced liver damage can be improved with just an extract of Acer Palmatum. 

Why are Japanese Maple Trees So Expensive?

By now, readers will have understood the whole process of planting and cultivating a Japanese maple tree. The biggest reason they are so expensive is that most Japanese Maple is grown as grafted plants. Below are some of the reasons why Japanese Maple trees are so expensive:-

  • Japanese Maple trees or Acer Palmatum are seen as a symbol of peace, patience, prosperity, serenity, and beauty. The trees have different meanings in life when they are planted or kept around. 
  • The growing rate of these trees is prolonged. 
  • Japanese Maple or Acer Palmatum is very sensitive to weather or any other conditions. That is why they need high care. 
  • As per their soil condition, such trees cannot be grown anywhere other than Japan, China, Korea, the eastern part of Mongolia, and southeast Russia. 
  • The tree can be used for all sorts of eye diseases and liver damages. 
  • The high demand for Japanese Maple trees is making them more expensive and more. 

The varieties of Japanese Maple trees and their price range are given in the table below:-

Variety/TypeAverage Price Tag 
Bloodgood Japanese Maple$40 for 3-gallon$85 for 2-3 foot-sized $105 for 3-4 foot-sized $400 for a 6-foot tree$700 for an 8-foot tree$1,100 for a 10-foot tree
Bonfire Japanese Maple Tree$90 for 2-gallon
Boskoop Glory Japanese Maple Tree$90 for 2-gallon
Burgundy Lace Japanese Maple$60 for a 4-foot tree$125 for a 6-foot tree
Coral Bark Japanese Maple Tree$75 for 2-3 foot-sized $95 for 3-4 foot-sized $125 for 4-5 foot-sized$600 for more than 8 foot-sized
Garnet Japanese Maple Tree$40 for 3-gallon
Kiyohime Japanese Maple Tree$100 for 2-3 foot-sized 
Lace Leaf Japanese Maple Tree$85 for 5-gallon
Mikawa Yatsubusa Japanese Maple Tree$90 for 1-2 foot-sized
Purple Ghost Japanese Maple Tree$150 for 3-4 foot-sized 
Ryusen Japanese Maple Tree$80 for 3-4 foot-sized 
Sherwood  Flame Japanese Maple Tree$50 for 1-gallon 

Types of Japanese Maples

Japanese maple trees come in thousand of different varieties. Many of them are similar, but they have their unique forms, structures, and growth conditions. The top ten varieties of the Japanese Maple trees are given below:

  1. Bloodgood Japanese Maple
  2. Crimson Queen Japanese Maple
  3. Butterfly Variegated Japanese Maple
  4. Coral Bark Japanese Maple
  5. Inaba Shidare Lace Leaf Japanese Maple
  6. Emperor One Japanese Maple
  7. Orangeola Japanese Maple
  8. Red Dragon Japanese Maple
  9. Weeping Viridis Japanese Maple
  10. Weeping Tamukeyama Japanese Maple

Conclusion 

Anything around the world that brings peace, patience, prosperity, serenity, and beauty is always costly. But, interestingly, such valuable gifts are offered not from human beings but from nature itself. 

It is very high time now that we consume and preserve our mother Earth. Other than bringing peace and prosperity, the small Japanese tree gives many benefits to human life, especially for the eyes. 

Frequently Asked Question 

  1. Which is the rarest Japanese Maple?

Answer- The rarest Japanese Maple ever found is Acer pentaphyllum. The Maple has a very lovely maple with five-lobed deep green leaves on them. Unfortunately, this Maple is also endangered as it is found only in Sichuan, China. The tree grows up to ten meters in height, and its fruit and leaves are very bright and colorful. 

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  1. How expensive are Japanese Maple Trees?

Answer- It takes quite some time for a Japanese Maple tree to grow up its size. That is why they are costly in the market along with high demand. The standard type like the Bloodgood is priced at $80 – $120 for six-foot-tall potted trees at nurseries. The rarest of Japanese Maple could be priced twice as much. 

  1. What is the growth rate of a Japanese Maple Tree annually?

Answer- The trees are one of the slowest growing maple trees in the world. The trees grow at a very slow to medium rate annually; the height of these trees ranges from less than 12″ to 24″ each year. 

  1. How far should a Japanese Maple Tree be kept from the house?

Answer- As Japanese Maple trees are very small or ideal in size, there should not be any problem where or how near one keeps it at their home. But, it is always better to own one of them at least 10 feet distance from your house. 

  1. Do the roots of a Japanese Maple Tree are invasive?

Answer- The roots of a Japanese Maple tree are not invasive regarding the foundation or the intact underground plumbing. 

Why are Japanese Maple Trees So Expensive?

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