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Acer palmatum 'Burgundy Lace': 'Burgundy Lace' Japanese Maple1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2


This cultivar of Japanese maple has a height and spread of about 12 feet. The multiple trunks are picturesque, grey, and show nicely when lit up at night. 'Burgundy Lace' Japanese maple is grown for its purple-red colored leaves, interesting growth habit, and fine leaf texture. Leaves are dissected almost to the petiole. The red leaf color is best as the new leaves emerge in the spring and in the fall. Leaves turn almost green during the heat of the summer. Growth habit is more like a large shrub with branches to the ground. This may be the best way to grow this tree to show off its wonderful texture. Be sure to clear all turf away from beneath the branches of these low growing types so the lawn mower will not damage the tree. This compact cultivar makes a wonderful accent for any landscape.

Figure 1. Young Acer palmatum 'Burgundy Lace': 'Burgundy Lace' Japanese Maple
Figure 1.  Young Acer palmatum 'Burgundy Lace': 'Burgundy Lace' Japanese Maple
Credit: Ed Gilman

General Information

Scientific name: Acer palmatum
Pronunciation: AY-ser pal-MAY-tum
Common name(s): 'Burgundy Lace' Japanese maple
Family: Aceraceae
USDA hardiness zones: 5B through 8B (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: Bonsai; specimen; deck or patio; container or planter; trained as a standard
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range


Height: 10 to 15 feet
Spread: 10 to 15 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: vase, round
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: slow
Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: serrate, lobed
Leaf shape: star-shaped
Leaf venation: palmate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: purple/red
Fall color: red, orange, yellow, copper
Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage


Flower color: red
Flower characteristics: not showy


Fruit shape: elongated
Fruit length: .5 to 1 inch
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: red
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns
Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: green, reddish
Current year twig thickness: thin
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: partial sun or partial shade, shade tolerant
Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; acidic; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: none


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: yes
Outstanding tree: yes
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: susceptible
Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

This large shrub or small tree tends to leaf out early, so it may be injured by spring frosts. Protect them from drying winds and direct sun by providing exposure to partial or filtered shade and well-drained, acid soil with plenty of organic matter, particularly in the southern part of its range. Leaves often scorch in hot summer weather in USDA hardiness zones 7b and 8, unless they are in some shade or irrigated during dry weather. Although the tree should be located in a mostly shaded spot in USDA hardiness zone 8b, 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. Grows fine on clay soils as long as the ground is sloped so water does not accumulate in the soil. Responds well to several inches of mulch placed beneath the canopy.

Variegated types of Japanese maple are a bit more difficult to grow and are subject to leaf scorch. There are many cultivars with a wide variety of leaf shapes and color, growth habits, and sizes: 'Atropurpureum'—reddish leaves with five lobes; 'Bloodgood'—new foliage bright red, darkening to dark green; 'Dissectum'—finely dissected leaves in green or red, 10 to 12 feet tall; 'Elegans'—leaves with rose-colored margins when they first unfold; 'Ornatum'—foliage is cut and reddish.


Aphids infest maples, usually Norway maple, and may be numerous at times. High populations can cause leaf drop. Another sign of heavy aphid infestation is honey dew on lower leaves and objects beneath the tree. Aphids are controlled by spraying or they may be left alone. If not sprayed, predatory insects will bring the aphid population under control.

Scales are an occasional problem on maples. Perhaps the most common is cottony maple scale. The insect forms a cottony mass on the lower sides of branches. Scales are controlled with horticultural oil sprays. Scales may also be controlled with well-timed sprays to kill the crawlers.

If borers become a problem it is an indication the tree is not growing well. Controlling borers involves keeping trees healthy. Chemical controls of existing infestations are more difficult. Proper control involves identification of the borer infesting the tree then applying insecticides at the proper time.


Scorch occurs during periods of high temperatures accompanied by wind. Trees with diseased or inadequate root systems will also show scorching. When trees do not get enough water they scorch. Scorch symptoms are light brown or tan dead areas between leaf veins. The symptoms are on all parts of the tree or only on the side exposed to sun and wind. Scorching due to dry soil may be overcome by watering. If scorching is due to an inadequate or diseased root system, watering may have no effect.

Nutrient deficiency symptoms are yellow or yellowish-green leaves with darker green veins. The most commonly deficient nutrient on maple is manganese. Implanting capsules containing a manganese source in the trunk will alleviate the symptoms. Test soil samples to determine if the soil pH is too high for best manganese availability. Plants exposed to weed killers may also show similar symptoms.

Tar spot and a variety of leaf spots cause some concern among homeowners but are rarely serious enough for control.


1. This document is ENH-184, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville FL 32611.

Publication #ENH-184

Release Date:April 10, 2014

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