Acer palmatum Katsura is a show stopper with its spring foliage – bright orange and yellow makes this cultivar stand out from the others.  Whereas many maples have pink to pink/red leaves in the spring Katsura is one of a smaller group of maples whose leaves are all orange in the spring or yellow with orange edges. This dramatic spring color often evolves to  yellow-green in the summer and then orange to scarlet red in the fall. Morning sun with afternoon shade is best for all of the yellow or gold leaf cultivars. Other maples with similar spring, summer and fall color include Akane, Orange Dream and Summer Gold.

The natural growth habit of this maple is that of a twiggy shrub so routine pruning is a good idea to keep it looking tight with a solid blanket of color. ‘Katsura’ may reach 7’ tall and 5’ wide in 10 years and is quite hardy. Once established it is hardy to -20 degrees, USDA zone 5. This is a beautiful maple and it deserves a place in any Japanese Garden.

Some pruning is necessary when a Katsura is small to form its structure for future growth. For more information see Pruning Japanese Maples.

First photo shows spring color on a 1 gallon Katsura. The remaining two photos are courtesy of Buchholz Nursery.