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Acer capillipes Tree

Snake Bark Maple Trees
  • £49.99 (ex VAT)
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The joy of this small Acer variety is in its striated snakeskin-like bark, hence why its common name is Snake Bark Maple! The bark is smooth and olive green with cream and brown vertical stripes. The distinctively shaped, three pointed foliage, attach to the stems by a bright red petiole, and turn from green to various shades of red, orange and yellow in autumn highlighting the long green fruits. Small yellow-green flowers emerge in spring.  Despite all of these glowing attributes, it is the grey-white striped bark that is the best feature of this lovely small tree.

The tree itself is spreading, with a vase shaped crown, with red tipped branches which arch to a gently weeping effect, making this a structurally beautiful tree. Expect an approximate height and spread of 5 x 4 metres in 20 years.

This tree was introduced from Japan in 1892 by Charles Prague Sargent, the first director of Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum.


AKA Snake Bark Maple, Snakebark Maple, Red Snake Bark Maple, Kyushu Maple, Acer capillipes

  • Common name: Snake bark maple tree
  • Awards: RHS Award of Garden Merit
  • Height and spread in 20 years: 5 x 4 metres
  • Seasons of interest: Year round
  • Foliage: Green leaves turn shades of yellow, orange and red in autumn
  • Soil: Plant in moist, free-draining sites in any soil type

Planting Advice for Acer capillipes Trees

Our pot grown Snake Bark Maple trees can be planted at any time of the year. Prepare your planting site by removing weeds and grass within a metre of your desired planting hole. Dig a square hole as deep as the root mass and roughly 2x as wide. To help the tree establish more effectively, sprinkle root grow in the hole.

Remove the pot, gently loosen the roots and place into the planting hole. Mix 50% of the original soil with 50% compost, fill in the hole and firm around gently. Avoid banking the soil up around the collar of the tree.

We recommend planting Acer capillipes Snake Bark Maple trees with a staking kit. For single stakes, knock the stake in at an angle and use a buckle tie with a spacer to prevent chaffing. For more advice, visit the help section.

Aftercare Advice for Acer capillipes Trees

If you’re planting Snake Bark Maple trees in spring or summer, water well for the first few months. Increase watering if there are extended periods of hot or dry weather. If planting in autumn, you may only need to water a little.

Once planted, keep the area free of competing weeds and grass for the first couple of growing seasons and if your area is prone to rabbits, use a rabbit guard. Our complete planting kits contain an irrigation system, weed suppressing mulch mat and rabbit guard, as well as the rootgrow and staking kits mentioned above.

Pruning Acer capillipes Trees

Acer capillipes Snake Bark Maple trees are easy to look after and do not require a lot of pruning. Remove any damaged or diseased branches when the tree is in leaf or just after leaf fall. This will prevent bleeding, which although it is not detrimental, can look unsightly. When pruning, make sure to maintain an even framework, step back and assess your work and prune proportionately.

Delivery Timescales

All trees are carefully packed by our experienced team and most are delivered within a week of placing the order (please allow up to 12 working days during busy periods). There's no need to be in to receive your order and you can request where it is left via the checkout.

There is a slightly longer timescale on pleached and mature trees (trees over 2.5m in height) because we group orders together for specialist delivery - we will contact these customers to notify them of the delivery date.

Trees on pre-order are still growing and an estimate of when they will be ready is given on the basket page. Orders will be despatched when all trees are ready.

Gift trees and those required by a specific date can be accommodated with pleasure, although we accept no legal responsibility for late deliveries.

Our nursery is a busy despatch centre, so please make an appointment to collect or view trees.  For collections, despatch charges will be refunded.

Delivery Costs

1 small tree (most trees under 1.5 metres in height) : £7.95 + vat

1 medium tree (most trees 1.5-2 metres in height) or 2-4 small trees: £9.95 + vat

2+ medium trees or 5+ small trees: £12.95 + vat

1-4 trees delivered by pallet (inc. mature Japanese Maples): £19.95 + vat

The above prices exclude the Scottish Highlands, where delivery starts from £24.95 + vat and is calculated in the checkout process.

Mature and pleached trees or orders too large for pallet: Cost is calculated in the checkout process and varies by postcode rather than quantity (starts from £48 + vat).

Northern Ireland and Non Mainland UK

Our courier charges are not viable for just one or two trees, but if you have a larger requirement then please do speak to us to see if we can find a solution.

The product table at the bottom of the page gives the forms and sizes available for this variety. Please note, photos are a guideline as all plants are unique. Below are definitions of terms:

Supplied Size: Height measured from the top of the pot.

Single Stem / Pruned and shaped: Classic shaped tree with a single stem that has had pruning to help create a beautiful, natural shape.

Top grafted: A height noted next to this form refers to the length of clear stem, which will not grow taller. Only the head of branches will develop. Top grafted trees do not require complicated pruning and are ideal for small spaces.

Feathered: A feathered tree has branches from the bottom of the trunk all the way up. These branches can be removed if a clear stem is required.

Multi Stem: A multi stem tree has two or more stems arising from or near ground level, growing from one root system. Take care to buy a true multi-stem like all ours and not those that are 3 saplings in a pot to cheaply imitate them.

Bush: A plant with many stems low down, rather than one clear stem.

Clump: Several plants in one pot that can give the appearance of a multi stemmed and very bushy tree.

Climber: A plant that is a natural climber and will be delivered usually running up a bamboo cane, ready to position in the garden.

Standard Tree: A more mature tree with an upright clear stem of approximately 1.8m-2.0m (measured from the soil to the lowest branches of the crown). Standards are available in different forms relating to their girth size (circumference of the stem measured 1m above soil level), not height:

Standard  either 6-10cm or 8-10cm girth, approximately 2.5-3.0m in height
Premium Standard  10-12cm girth, approximately 3.0-3.5m in height
Heavy Standard  12-14cm girth, approximately 3.5-4.5m in height
Extra Heavy Standard 14-16cm girth approximately 4.0-6m in height

Plant Specification Form Supplied Size Root typePrice Quantity Qty
Acer capillipes Form: Pruned & Shaped Tree Supplied Size: 150-180cm Root type: 10L pot Acer capillipes Price £49.99 (ex VAT)
Pruned & Shaped Tree 150-180cm 10L pot £49.99 (ex VAT)
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Total: £0.00 (VAT Free)
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