Bloodgood Japanese Maple: History, Bark, leaves, Size, Lifespan – Identification Guide

The Bloodgood Japanese Maple, also known as Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, is part of the Sapindaceae family. It is a popular cultivar of the Japanese Maple tree, named after the Bloodgood Nursery in Long Island, New York, where it was developed before the Second World War. This tree is available in both weeping and upright varieties.

The Bloodgood Japanese Maple grows to a height of 15 to 20 feet with a similar spread. It has a moderate growth rate, generally growing between 1 to 2 feet per year. The tree features deep reddish-purple summer foliage that deepens into a brilliant scarlet in the fall. Its leaves are palmate, meaning they are shaped like an open hand with several lobes originating from one point. The tree produces small purple flowers in the spring, which are followed by red samaras, or winged seeds.

The Bloodgood Japanese Maple is relatively low-maintenance and adaptable to a wide variety of soil types, including clay, loam, and sand. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8.

While the red foliage is the star of the show, the Bloodgood Maple offers multi-season interest. In spring, tiny reddish-purple flowers emerge, followed by the vibrant red leaves. Fall brings a fiery crimson transformation before giving way to the smooth, silver-grey bark that adds winter beauty.

Appearance

  • Grows as a large shrub or small tree, reaching up to 15-20 feet tall with a similar spread at maturity.
  • Features deeply lobed leaves with 5-7 points, emerging a rich wine-red to burgundy in spring.
  • The leaves maintain this color throughout summer, transforming into a fiery crimson red in fall before dropping.
  • Even the bark adds winter interest, boasting a blackish-red hue.

Growing Conditions

  • Thrives in full sun to part shade, although it tolerates full sun better than many other Japanese maples, especially in cooler zones.
  • Needs well-drained, moist, organically rich, and slightly acidic soil.
  • Adapts to various soil types but struggles in consistently wet or dry conditions.
  • Considered a slow grower, maturing over several years and putting on 1-2 feet per year.
  • Relatively low-maintenance and disease-resistant.

Planting and Care

  • Plant your Bloodgood Japanese Maple in spring or fall when the temperatures are mild.
  • Choose a location with well-draining soil and amend it with organic matter if needed.
  • Water your tree regularly, especially during the first growing season and during hot, dry spells.
  • Mulch around the base of the tree to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  • Prune minimally, focusing on removing dead, diseased, or crossing branches in late winter or early spring.

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