The Japanese maple (Acer x palmatum) comes in many beautiful cultivars and is the most widely grown maple in the American landscape garden. It is valued for its compact size as a picturesque, small shrubby tree with delicate foliage in horizontal layers and brilliant fall color that lasts late into the season. However, it is not hardy in zone 4. The Korean maple (Acer x pseudosieboldianum), conversely, is hardy to our cold zone 4 winters and is often an acceptable alternative to the Japanese maple, as it is similar enough with its showy palmate leaves, vivid autumn color and attractive bark. Many of our customers, nonetheless, prefer the striking color, form, and texture of a Japanese maple over the hardiness of the Korean maple.
With the public’s longing for a cold hardy Japanese maple, Iseli Nursery has developed a new maple cultivar known as ‘North Wind’ from their Jack FrostÂ® Series which combines the hardiness and resilience of the Korean maple and the beauty of the Japanese maple. The leaves of ‘North Wind’ emerge a brilliant red from the moment it unfolds in the spring, changing by midsummer to light green followed by a dramatic orange-scarlet that lasts well into November.
Like its parents, ‘North Wind’ grows best in morning sun, filtered shade in the afternoon, and cool, moist, mulched well drained soil. The picture above is from the Nursery Manager’s yard in Savage, planted late last fall the North Wind maple survived the hard Minnesota winter with no problems.