With beautiful cascading foliage, the Orangeola or Acer Palmatum is one of the most stunning Laceleaf Japanese Maples. This small tree or deciduous shrub provides stunning colors that can brighten up beds or borders, or even a patio in tubs to create the serenity of a Japanese garden in your outdoor space.
Acer Palmatum – Orangeola
The Acer Palmatum or Orangeola is a small tree or deciduous shrub that reaches a height of between 4 to 8 feet, with a spread of between 3 and 7 feet. Young Orangeola plants can grow up to 24 inches in a year and take up to ten years to reach full maturity, depending on the growing environment.
While Orangeola plants require minimal care, pruning twice a year can help to maintain an attractive shape and encourage that elegant form. You should avoid trimming or pruning during active growth periods, as the sap can bleed weakening the plant. However, with proper care, Orangeola can live over 100 years.
The Trunk and Branches
Orangeola appears to have a fragile branch structure, which may discourage pruning, but without adequate trimming, the foliage can begin to mound up. The branches and trunk of the Orangeola can be used for shell pruning to create a protective foliage veil over the plant. The branches of the Orangeola are unique and twisting with a dark brown color that allows the foliage to be wonderfully showcased.
The Orangeola features beautiful leaves that can add fantastic color to any garden. The new spring leaves appear bright orange when they first emerge fading to a red green in summer. The color of the foliage is enhanced in mid summer when a second flush of new growth creates an orange red blush on the plant. During fall, the colors tend to be dramatic and fiery in red and orange tones.
Uses in Your Garden
Orangeola can be used in beds, borders, or containers to add color and interest to your garden. Since the trunk can grow quite wide, it is important to allow ample space. However, Orangeola is hardy and can be moved elsewhere if it is not thriving in its initial location, or you find it is starting to intrude on other plants, walls, or fences.
You should avoid planting Orangeolas too close together. The root system is shallow and fibrous, so the spreading roots do not cope well if there is nearby competition.
Due to its impressive foliage, Orangeola can be used as an architectural feature to add character to your landscaping design. With careful pruning, you can create the shell appearance of foliage coverage that has a unique mushroom shape.
While Japanese maples have a reputation for being difficult to grow, Orangeola is actually low maintenance. It can thrive in most soils and most climate zones.
Although Japanese maples, including Orangeola, can tolerate a variety of sunlight conditions, they tend to prefer partial sunlight. In hotter weather and more direct sun, particularly Mediterranean climates, the foliage can be susceptible to sunburn or leaf scorch if the plant does not receive afternoon shade. If your Orangeola is planted north of taller buildings, it should be able to tolerate increased levels of direct sunlight. However, there is a balance to be maintained; inadequate amounts of light may cause stunted growth and poor foliage. Ideally, the plant should receive three or four hours of morning sunlight during the growing season, while being protected from direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day.
Orangeola can struggle to thrive in heavy or poorly drained soil or in clay. These conditions can not only lead to root rot, but also encourage disease. The low oxygen conditions of these types of soils will also lead to difficulty establishing good root growth.
If your soil is clay or heavy soil, you will need to plant up to four inches shallower. A higher placement will provide better drainage to encourage a healthy root system. It is also a good idea to incorporate up to 20 percent organic matter into these types of soil to improve aeration and drainage. You will need to use a well composted mulch and avoid fine textured matter such as peat moss. Composted materials will immediately provide organic matter to your soil to support the Orangeola. You should build up your soil beside the root ball to avoid exposure at the sides, while not adding additional soil over the top of the root ball, to allow oxygen to reach the roots.
You should water your Orangeola deeply twice a week, but more often when the tree is newly planted or if it is planted in a container. This is particularly important in summer when too little water can contribute to leaf scorching.
Leaf tip burn is often a result of too little water, too much water or too much fertilizer. In particularly challenging conditions, such as a heatwave, your Orangeola may drop leaves, but there is a secondary set of leaves that will appear to protect the tree. However, this is a sign that the Orangeola is not getting sufficient water.
If your Orangeola is stressed, avoid fertilizing. Fertilizers are a stimulant, which can create further problems for sick plants.
Orangeola can tolerate winter conditions well if you prepare them for the colder weather. You should ensure that your Orangeola is well watered throughout late fall until the ground freezes and mulch with shredded bark to allow air to circulate.
After a severe winter, you may find that some branches have snapped out of its dissectums. This can be prevented by not allowing branch tips to freeze to the ground. If a branch loses its capacity to move, the burden of heavy snows can cause cracking. Try to remove snow accumulation as soon as possible, but avoid disturbing any ice that may be coating the branches. You can also minimize the burdens of winter hazards by removing any dead leaves clinging to the branches before the ice or snow arrives and avoid planting your Orangeola where snow may slide off rooftops and land on the tree.
According to the American Horticultural Society Heat Resistance rating, Orangeola is rated up to zone 8. This is based on the average number of days above 86ºf per year.
Pests and Diseases
There are several possible pests and diseases that can affect any Japanese maple, including the Orangeola. Proper care can minimize the risk of pests and diseases, but occasional pests include;
Japanese Beetles: Japanese beetles are leaf feeders that can destroy the appearance of a tree in just a few weeks.
Scale: Scale insects draw the sap from the plant, robbing the Orangeola of essential nutrients.
Mealybug: Mealybugs produce a white residue on the leaves resembling cotton. This is the egg sacs or the pests themselves mostly on the leaves or stems. Besides the residue, mealybugs can suck the life out of the plant. Although one bug may not cause damage, they can multiply quickly and overwhelm the plant.
Mites: Mites are a common pest for plants and can compromise the appearance of the leaves.
Aphids: Aphids suck sap, and large infestations can cause tree growth distortions.
Borers: These little pests drill into the bark, tunneling along the branches and trunk. Mild cases will cause scarring, but severe cases can cause the death of branches or the entire Orangeola.
These pests can attack an Orangeola of any age, but they are most common in young trees.
The most common disease affecting Japanese maples is fungal infection. This can attack through any bark damage, and mild cases often resolving themselves. Orangeola can also be vulnerable to Verticillium, which is a soil dwelling fungus that causes yellowing leaves with premature falling. Again, proper pruning, clean up of fallen leaves, and annual mulch replacement can help to prevent infection and the spread of these diseases.
While you may want to get a bigger tree, like most maples, Orangeola does not require fertilizing for healthy growth. You should avoid fertilizing a newly transplanted tree, and wait until the second growing season, so the plant has ample time to adapt to the new conditions.
When you start feeding your Orangeola, it should be in the late winter as the ground is still frozen or after the last freeze in spring. The goal is to maintain a constant low level of fertilizer to keep the plant healthy. Orangeola looks their best if allowed to grow at a slower speed, so avoid high levels of nitrogen. If you’re using slow release pellets, avoid scattering on the soil surface as it can cause sporadic releases. A better approach is to bore holes around the tree, halfway between the branch drip line and main trunk, at approximately six inches deep. Divide the fertilizer between these holes and tuck the pellets inside. Fill the holes will soil and irrigate well.
Pruning and Trimming
Generally, Orangeola do not require much pruning, apart from removing damaged or crossed stems to encourage an open framework. If you do want to thin out any branches or shape the trees artistically, you will need to time your pruning carefully.
Since maples can ooze sap, the most common time of pruning in winter is not necessarily the best for your Orangeola. You should avoid pruning in early spring when the buds break during leaf expansion or late autumn when the wounds will not have time to heal before the challenging winter conditions. Instead, prune your Orangeola in February during the dormant phase or in mid July when the sap will not run from any cuts.
The Origins of Orangeolas
Japanese maples, including the Oranegola or Acer Palmatum, are native to Japanese and Korean woodlands. These trees have been collected for centuries, and there are a number of different varieties within the Japanese maple family. Orangeola is particularly prized for its delicate, dissected leaves combined with a stunning cascading form. With its heat resistance, rapid growth, and superb aesthetics, Orangeola will make an attractive addition to any outdoor area.