Honor Your Mother


Plant a Japanese Maple tree.

Japanese Maple

By Charlie Thigpen

You don’t have to give the special lady who raised, nurtured and taught you so many of life’s lessons a fist full of flowers for Mother’s Day. This year why not do something unexpected and give her a Japanese maple to plant and enjoy for years?  Flowers fade fast, but these elegant trees keep on giving, just like the woman who raised you.

Why a Japanese maple?

These trees come in all shapes and sizes and are outstanding performers year round. In the early spring as their leaves emerge, they provide show-stopping color and produce clusters of tiny red drooping flowers.  Once the leaves mature and fully develop in late spring through summer the trademark detailed foliage is what delights.  Selections such as Waterfall, Tamukeyama, Orangeola and Virdis have delicate, lacy leaves while others such as Full Moon produce hand-sized palmate leaves.  Autumn is when the trees really show their stuff. Depending on the variety, they may turn brilliant orange, red or yellow.  And for winter, once the leaves drop, they reveal their beautifully sculpted trunks. Coral Bark maples even have blood–red stems that stand in stark contrast to the cold, gray days of the season.

Easy Trees

Japanese maples prefer partial sun or filtered light. Trees exposed to too much sun or hot western sun can experience leaf scald. Japanese maples don’t have to be planted in the ground. Some dwarf varieties will be perfectly content for several years in a large planter. Maples are drought tolerant once established and have very few pest problems. They aren’t very picky about soil but will perform best in a fertile, well-drained soil.

The Pat Dye Connection

If you want to learn more about these marvelous maples or would like to purchase one, come to the Farmers Market at Pepper Place on May 7 and meet Pat Dye, owner of Quail Hollow Gardens. The former Auburn University coach knows more than the X’s and O’s of football. He’s been studying and growing thousands of these elegant trees over the years. He’s even built a beautiful Japanese maple garden on his farm. He and nursery manager Casey Teel will be bringing a load of trees to sell at the market, and Coach Dye will also be signing books.

Even if you don’t pull for Auburn football, you’re sure to score big with a Japanese maple for Mom. Their grace and beauty will make her smile. And you just may want an extra one for yourself.  As the coach says, “Everyone needs at least one of these trees in their yard to enjoy.”

One Response to “Honor Your Mother”

  1. Sherry says:

    What variety of Japanese maple is in the picture?

Leave a Reply