Q: My Japanese maple gets morning sun and afternoon shade, but the red foliage is turning more green now. Is there something I could do for a redder leaf foliage?
A: There’s not much you can do. Japanese maple expert Norm Mittleider says water, sun, night temperatures and length of day greatly influence the fall coloration of Japanese maples. Sunshine and genetics are the most important. Some red leafed Japanese maples naturally change from red to a greenish hue in summer. Though most Japanese maples appreciate afternoon shade, typical red cultivars without the benefit of full sunlight for part of the day will not retain the red color into late summer. In general, the color of most red varieties is strongly enhanced in full sun, and in some forms, leaf color readily reverts to green in too much shade.