Japanese Maple - Wood & Landscape
Japanese Maple as the name suggests is native to the island nation of Japan. Smaller than a Sugar Maple tree, Japanese maple is primarily an understory tree growing no more than 30 feet tall as a rule. Japanese Maple is popular for its deep red leaf color in the fall, which makes it desirable as a decorative landscape tree. Japanese Maples grow in clumps similar to the way a Paper birch tree grows.
The first Japanese maple tree exported out of Japan arrived in England by ship in 1820. Today, Japanese maples are grown in over 100 countries. Japanese maple is the number one landscape tree sold by commercial tree nurseries.
There are over 1,000 varieties of Japanese maples distinguished by leaf variation between species. Some of the most popular Japanese maple varieties include Burgundy Lace, Butterfly, Emperor, Garnet, Red Pygmy and Tamukeyama.
Japanese Maple Wood
Japanese Maple wood has many uses, particularly in Japan. Japanese Maple wood is used for cabinetmaking, decorative plywood, decorative veneer, factory flooring, furniture, interior trim, paneling wooden shoes, chairs, chests, figured veneer, flooring, millwork and spindles for railing. Japanese maple wood is similar in texture to Sugar maple but has a distinctively red hue. Burl wood from Japanese Maples used by carvers is in high demand and hard to find at just about any price.
There are also subtle differences in wood color and grain pattern between cultivars, some more popular than others. Just as in fruit trees, different varieties of Japanese maple trees can be grafted to one tree. These are called Scions and typically are 1 to 3 year old branches cut from the mother tree.
Japanese Maple tree plantations are not uncommon in Japan but are a rarity anywhere else in the world. In Japan, Japanese maples are grown 200 trees to an acre. Clumping is encouraged so there are multiple trunks on every tree. Japanese maples are grown primarily for wood and herbal medicine. It is standard practice to grow many different varieties on an acre. The wood from these plantations is used for fine woodworking, art pieces and furniture.
Cultivating tree plantation Japanese Maple Burl wood for export to Asia could be extremely profitable.