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Publication #FPS009

Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' Bloodgood Japanese Maple1

Edward F. Gilman2


'Bloodgood' Japanese maple has a round shape with a height and spread of about 20 feet, making it nicely suited to residential landscapes (Figure 1). Its popularity is due mostly to the leaves, which stay red for most of the summer. Leaves turn greenish red during hot weather in the southern part of its range. The multiple trunks are muscular-looking, picturesque, grey and show nicely when lighted at night. Fall color is reddish and less striking than other Japanese maples. The globose canopy shape looks best when it is allowed to branch to the ground. Lower foliage branches can be thinned to display the attractive bark and trunk structure.

Figure 1. 

'Bloodgood' Japanese maple.


Ed Gilman

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Figure 1. 

'Bloodgood' Japanese maple.


Ed Gilman

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]
Scientific name: Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'
Pronunciation: AY-sir pal-MAY-tum
Common name(s): 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple
Family: Aceraceae
Plant type: shrub
USDA hardiness zones: 5B through 8 (Figure 2)
Planting month for zone 7: year round
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: border; near a deck or patio; bonsai; container or above-ground planter; trained as a standard
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range
Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 12 to 20 feet
Spread: 15 to 20 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: symmetrical habit with a regular (or smooth) outline and individuals having more or less identical forms
Growth rate: slow
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: serrate; parted
Leaf shape: star-shaped
Leaf venation: palmate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: purple or red
Fall color: red
Fall characteristic: showy


Flower color: red
Flower characteristic: spring flowering


Fruit shape: elongated
Fruit length: 0.5 to 1 inch
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: red
Fruit characteristic: showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: no thorns; typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: reddish
Current year stem/twig thickness: thin


Light requirement: plant grows in the shade; plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: slightly alkaline; acidic; clay; loam; sand
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerance: moderate
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: usually not a problem
Winter interest: plant has winter interest due to unusual form, nice persistent fruits, showy winter trunk, or winter flowers
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

This large shrub or small tree tends to leaf out early, so it may be injured by spring frosts. Leaves can scorch in hot summer weather unless they are in some shade or irrigated during dry weather. More direct sun can be tolerated in the northern part of the range. Be sure drainage is maintained, and never allow water to stand around the roots. Japanese maples grow well on clay soils as long as the ground is sloped so that water does not accumulate in the soil. They respond well to several inches of mulch placed beneath the canopy. Be sure to clear all turf away from beneath the branches of low-growing types so lawn mowers will not damage the tree.

This cultivar makes a nice patio or small shade tree for residential lots and, with pruning to remove drooping branches, provides adequate clearance for pedestrian traffic to pass close to the tree.

Train the trunks and branches so that they will not touch each other. Eliminate branches with included (embedded) bark or those that are likely to develop it as soon as possible. This reduces the likelihood of a branch splitting from the tree later when it has grown to become an important part of the landscape. Remove small twigs to enhance the showy trunk and bark structure. Locate the tree properly; take into account the ultimate size because the tree looks best if it is not pruned to control size. It can be the centerpiece of your landscape if it is properly located. Japanese maples have a reputation for transplanting from a field nursery poorly, but root-pruned plants and those from containers should do well.

Pests and Diseases

Due to poor growth in poorly drained soil, Japanese maples are often planted on raised beds or on high ground in clay soil. Aphids, scales and borers can be found on the maples. Scorch occurs during periods of high temperatures accompanied by wind. Trees with diseased or inadequate root systems will also show scorching. Verticillium wilt can kill plants.



This document is FPS009, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2004. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.