Dappled or Afternoon Shade – A mature Japanese Maple thrives in full sun everywhere but the southernmost portions of its hardiness range, but is also happy with a bit more shade. It does need some sun for best foliage color, but the amount you give it can vary greatly. All Japanese maples are tolerant of part shade conditions. Unfortunately, many Japanese maples are less tolerant of full sun, developing leaf.
In USDA zones 7b and 8, and especially in Mediterranean climates, foliage is susceptible to leaf scorch or sunburn in the summer unless trees receive afternoon shade or are heavily watered in dry weather. Trees planted to the north of taller buildings can tolerate more direct sunlight. Japanese maples will grow best in a sheltered position. Variegated Japanese maples need partial shade to prevent the afternoon sun from scorching the foliage.
Green-leaved forms tolerate full sun, but are best in dappled shade as very bright conditions can sometimes cause scorch. Best location to plant a Japanese Maple Tree. Late afternoon and evening dappled shade, although four to six hours of direct morning sunlight is beneficial to maintain the red pigment in the leaves. In northern states full day sun is fine. Most Japanese maples prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. Planting a laceleaf Japanese maple in full sun is not advised and another selection should.