Help ID'ing plant/tree

A garden I drive past regularly has this great looking plant in it. I can't seem to drive by when there is anyone out in the yard and I'm too shy to actually knock on their door to ask what it is, so thought maybe you folks could help.
It looks like a short -- REALLY short -- maple tree of some kind. It's about 2-3 feet tall. It has a single trunk (or a very trunk-like stem) that is a couple inches in diameter and an umbrella-shaped canopy of dark reddish/burgundy, maple-like leaves (deeply cut and serrated). They must not think it's going to get very big, as it's an anchor point in quite a small garden bed. It makes me think of a Japanese maple, except it's so small and the shape is so tidy (I realize that could be pruning, of course).
Sound familiar to anyone? Thanks in advance for suggestions!
Jo Ann
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You could have snapped a picture.

I'll bet it's Japanese red maple... there are many cultivars, some don't get very large and most don't grow very fast... they are also rather simple to keep small by pruning/training... Japanee red maple makes for fine bonsai specimens.
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With ref. to the topic of pruning. http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/tree_pruning/index.html
Looks just like a lace leaf japanese maple I transplanted.
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.
wrote:

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"symplastless" wrote:

Looks just like... Jo Ann posted no picture I could see.
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The dwarf Japanese Maple 'Shaina' is pretty small.
http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/75420/index.html
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As I look at these pictures, I'm convinced it is some kind of dwarf Japanese red maple, and "Shaina" is a good possibility. I also think, as Sheldon suggests, it's been bonsai'd (excuse the backformed verb) to look exactly as it does. Thanks for the help! Now I need to figure out where I can put one....
Jo Ann
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