Directory of Trees

Dissectum-Type Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum var. dissectum)

Below are listed several varieties of the Dissectum Group of Japanese maples. These are often referred to as Laceleaf Maples, Fern Leaf Maples, Thread Leaf Maples, Cut Leaf Maples, Weeping Japanese Maples, or simply as Japanese Maples. They all have several things in common: they all have finely divided, toothed leaves, and they have a cascading habit. Aside from these common attributes, they differ in the shape of the leaf, leaf color, size and weeping habit.

The dissectum group of Japanese maples are best used as a specimen or the focal point of the landscape or garden. They can be used as a small tree or a small to large shrub, depending on size. They add artistic structure to the garden. They are special plants for special places.

Size: Variable – see below

Shape: Mounding-cascading

Fall Color: Varies – see below

Rate of Growth: Slow

Other Attributes: The most refined of Japanese maples. They are quite adaptable in culture and use – the dissectum group, in particular, can be considered shrubs. They are not as fragile as they appear. Because they are weepers, however, heavy snows should be carefully brushed off to prevent damages to the branches.) Few other plants can offer the differing colors from the new growth of spring to summer to the rich hues of fall.

Growing Conditions: Plant in sun to shade, depending on variety (dappled shade seems to be best for most varieties) in organic, moist, well-drained soil. A little afternoon shade is often appreciated.

The red-leaved varieties tend to turn bronze or green if planted in too much shade but may experience leaf tip scorch if situated in too much sun. Others, however, are resistant to scorch. See below.

Other / Related Varieties: Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’. This variety reaches 9 feet high and 12 feet wide in many years. It grows well in sun to shade. One of its outstanding features, and the one by which other red leaved Japanese maples are measured: it carries its deep red colored foliage through the growing season even when planted in full sun. The leaves of ‘Crimson Queen’ change to bright scarlet tones in the fall.

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Ever Red’, this red-leaved Japanese maple is more vigorous, growing 12 to 15 feet high and wide. When grown in the sun, it holds its deep red color into the summer better than most red-leaved varieties. The spring growth of ‘Ever Red’ is its notable characteristic: The new shoots are covered with fine silvery hairs which gives the new growth a silver sheen.

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Inaba Shidare’ – Sometimes known as ‘Red Select’, this Japanese maple is rather upright for a dissectum. It does have cascading branches, but is more erect in appearance. ‘Inaba Shidare ‘grows 10 to 12 feet high and about half that in width. It retains its dark purple red color into the summer when grown in the sun. Some tip burn may be experienced in hot, dry summers. ‘Inaba Shidare’ turns a brilliant crimson in the fall.

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Red Dragon’ – The growth habit for this fairly new variety is like a smaller form of ‘Crimson Queen’; a compact, mound reaching 5 to 7 feet tall with a similar width. The young leaves are a bright scarlet in spring, becoming dark burgundy as they develop. It retains its color both in sun and light shade.

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Tamukeyama’ – This is an old variety that has stood the test of time. It has a mounding habit, growing 4 to 6 feet high and a bit wider. (Its ultimate growth is larger but only after many years.) Its leaves, less divided than ‘Ever Red,’ are red to red-purple in color, which holds up quite well to heat and humidity. The fall color is bright scarlet. Young branches and twigs are maroon red.

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Viridis’ – Viridis has become the name used for many green-leaved dissectums. Generally, it now is being applied to those dissectums with 7 or 9 deeply divided lobes. ‘Viridis’ grows 9 to 12 feet high with an equal spread. It holds its bright green color in summer, especially if grown in partial shade. In the fall, the leaves turn a delightful gold with an occasional splash of crimson.

Prices vary according to size, variety, and availability.

Please Note: Trees cannot be shipped outside of the DC/Baltimore Metropolitan areas. Tree prices and sizes are subject to change.


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Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple foliage

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 10 feet

Spread: 8 feet


Hardiness Zone: 6a

Group/Class: Dissectum


Delicate lacy leaves and cascading habit; foliage begins orange in spring, turning burgundy during summer with more hints of orange-red if grown in the sun, fiery fall color; Japanese maples are the most coveted of all small landscape trees

Ornamental Features

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple has attractive burgundy foliage which emerges orange in spring. The small lobed palmate leaves are highly ornamental and turn an outstanding red in the fall. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a more or less rounded form. It lends an extremely fine and delicate texture to the landscape composition which can make it a great accent feature on this basis alone.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should only be pruned in summer after the leaves have fully developed, as it may ‘bleed’ sap if pruned in late winter or early spring. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 8 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Garnet Cutleaf Japanese Maple makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a ‘thriller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag – this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, this plant may be too tender to survive the winter if left outdoors in a container. Contact our store for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.

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