General Questions and Answers about Maples

Frequently Asked Questions

Please take a moment to scan through the commonly asked questions to see if one of these will answer your question before contacting us. Thank you.

What Japanese maples do well in colder climates?

Typically, most of the Japanese maples will do fine in cold climates without any problems (zone 5, -20 F). But many factors can effect their health including; the age of the plant, variety of maple, care, site conditions, microclimates and whether it is planted in the ground or a container.  To help you with the success of growing your maple in cold climates be sure to read Winterize Your Trees

Click here for a List of Maples that do Well in Cold Climates


What Japanese maples do well in hot climates?

If you live in  a particularly hot and sunny area, morning sun and afternoon shade is best.  Mulch and morning mistings help in extremely hot climates.  Everyone has their own particular microclimate so it is best to provide as much shade as possible when you are in extreme hot areas.

It is important to know that the roots of Japanese maples are shallow growing and will over heat in hot climates.  This will show up as leaf scorch just like the sun burning the leaves.  For that reason, it is a good idea to lay mulch 4-6' around the base of your tree.

All these trees can pretty much take the full sun to 85° without much problem. If it exceeds that - then morning sun and afternoon shade is important for successful growing of maples.

Click here for a List of Maples that do Well in Hot Climates


What size plants do you grow?

We grow plants from seedling size up to 45 gallon sized containers.

Do you sell plants larger than listed in the online catalog?

We sell plants of all sizes from seedlings to our largest landscape sized containers of 45 gallon. Sizes larger than listed in the catalog are available only at the nursery. You can check about availability of larger sizes at

Do you spray your plants?

We do not use any pesticides on our maples. Rarely we will spray neem oil to help control powdery mildew and other fungi. (This occurs only in the wettest of seasons).

What do you use for rootstock?

We use different kinds of rootstock matching the cultivar to the species. In most cases we grow our own rootstock to avoid problems with disease from outside sources.

Is Mendocino Maples Nursery open to the public?

Yes. We have over 2 acres of maples in the landscape and for the nursery. We have been on several garden tours that have been given on the Mendocino coast. This is our home as well as our nursery so we are open by appointment only. Please email or call Contact Us to make an appointment.

Maple Nomenclature

What is a maple? Technically speaking: A plant belonging to the Aceraceae family whose members include genera Acer and Dipteronia .   Maples are in the genus Acer placed together in this group   by their similar flowers.

What is a species? A group of plants that differs from its closest neighbors in both geographical and ecological distribution and breeds true - ie.: the resulting offspring are the same.

What is a cultivar?   A cross between two or more species, forms or varieties, resulting in a unique form which is propagated asexually; from cuttings, grafting or tissue culture

How many species of maples are there?   There are about 140 species of maples.

How many cultivars of maples are there?   Good question!   Maybe 1500. This number is going up all the time as nurserymen strive for finding new forms.

Can I name a seedling?   Sure, but in order properly introduce it into the trade the plant needs to be evaluated for 8-10 years to determine that it is absolutely, positively new and different from all other plants like it in the world.   In my opinion, too many plants are entered into the trade without proper evaluation. There is a strict set of rules to follow.   For more information see International Code of Botanical Nomenclature .


Maple Botany

Do maples have flowers?     Most maples are known for their colorful display of leaves.   All maples have flowers but most are very small and inconspicuous. However, some like A . pseudoplatanus do have wonderful floriferous displays in the spring. In general, most maple flowers have 5 petals and 5 sepals with a split ovary with two stigmas and 10 stamens.   Most are bisexual and pollinated by insects.

Do all maples loose their leaves in the fall? Most are deciduous, however like most generalizations about nature there are exceptions...a few maple species are evergreen. (Note: some deciduous maples leaves will stay attached dead to the tree after they die in the fall).

What are those helicopter spinning seeds? All maples have winged seeds which are called a samara.

What is their native habitat?   Maples are not worldwide in their natural occurrence: most are found naturally in the temperate regions of the planet.   When found at the lower latitudes of Mexico or Asia they are found at higher elevations.   The greatest number of Acer species grows in China.