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Do Japanese Maples Lose Their Leaves?

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Japanese maples are deciduous broadleaf trees, which means that they do lose their leaves in the fall.

Foliage Color

The color of Japanese maple leaves depends on the variety of Japanese maple and varies from green to red to purple to a marble pattern containing a combination of white, pink and shades of green.

Foliage Appearance

Some Japanese maples have large, bold leaves while others have finely cut leaves. Some have dissected leaves with very thin lobes that present a lacy look and fine texture.


If leaves appear in early spring when temperatures are unusually high, later low temperatures can significantly damage the leaves. Japanese maples commonly experience leaf scorch (browning of leaf margin) when they do not receive enough water or are in windy areas.

Fun Fact

Some Japanese maple leaves can be easily mistaken for marijuana leaves. According to Southern Living, you can distinguish the two types of leaves because Japanese maple leaves turn bright colors in the fall.

Landscape Ideas Using Japanese Maples

In a small garden, use a single Japanese maple as the centerpiece -- the main tree shading a courtyard or accenting the front of a house. Japanese maples come in green, deep purple, bronze and red-leaved cultivars. Trees with beautiful fall coloring will add interest in the fall. Choose any color or leaf shape you like. Weeping cultivars of Japanese maple planted on slopes can give the effect of a waterfall, with cascading branches pouring downhill. Use a small twisted or weeping Japanese maple to create a striking accent in a landscape. A red-leaved tree will draw the eye in a sea of green.

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