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What is an emperor Japanese maple?

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Quick Answer

An emperor Japanese maple is a fast-growing maple tree with purplish-red leaves. In the fall, the leaves turn bright red or orange. Although not native to North America, the trees are often found in northern American gardens because their late-opening leaves help protect against spring frosts.

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Full Answer

These trees grow to be 15 to 20 feet tall with equal widths. Their limbs begin about four feet from the ground. Emperor Japanese maples adapt to full sun or partial shade. They grow best in rich, moist and well-drained soil. Usually, these trees are able to survive in polluted urban centers, but sheltered locations are best. Their roots require mulch in particularly cold winters.

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