Well, everyone knows what a Maple Leaf looks like, right? It is the leaf on the Canadian flags as well, the one that lends it’s shape to maple sugar candies. Well, yes and no? While most maple leaves do have a three-lobed outline, they are vary enormously in size and shape. Therefore, with some the lobes are barely indented with some they are so deeply cut they look like lace.

Some even have three separate leaflets the way poison ivy does. Size of the tree also varies a great deal, and you can find a suitable maple whether you want a large shade tree or a small ornamental for a city yard. However, most maples have especially fine fall color and seeds with wings on either side that you can spread apart and stick on the bridge of you’re nose if you are so inclined.

Hence, of the large especially favorite in public is sugar maple, also called rock maple “Acer Saccharum” a fine shade tree that can grow well over 100 feet tall, with a big, round, dense head and leaves that turn shades of red, yellow and orange in fall. Collecting and boiling down the sweet sap to make maple syrup is a lot of work it must be reduced to less then thirties of it’s original volume but it is a good way to get outdoors at the end of winter. October Glory is a variety of sugar maple with especially good fall color; Newton Sentry is a columnar form.

Red maple are also called “Swamp Maple” is nearly as popular as sugar maple, because it’s showy red flowers are such a welcome sight amid bare branches in early spring. Like sugar maple, it turns color early in fall, but in this case the leaves are blazing red. It is a bit less sturdy than sugar maple but will tolerate wet sites.

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Norway maple “A. platanoides” a big round tree, casts a very dense shade and is rather shallow rooted but it grows quickly as maple go, “Erectum” is a columnar variety and “Crimson King” has red leaves all summer. All these are hardy, though Silver maple “A. saccharinum” is often planted because of it’s grow very fast.

It’s graceful, pendulous branches and it’s finely cut leaves with silvery undersides, which cast a dappled shade. It is also hardy while Silver maples bas weak, breakable wood, however, and it’s roots can clog drains and septic systems if the tree is planted near them.

Of the smaller ornamental maples the choicest is Japanese maple “A. planmatum” and it’s hybrids. The original species, which can grow to 20 feet, has fine, deeply indented green leaves in summer the reddish when they first emerge and turn red in fall. It is hardy to and self-sows freely. Varieties such as “Atropurpureum” and “Sanguineum” are dark red all season.

The very slow growing cutleaf, or laceleaf Japanese maple “A. p. dissectum” can grow to 12 feet but is usually much smaller; an exquisite mound of cascading branches is supported by a twisted picturesque trunk, with it’s lacy leaves often sweeping the ground. Varieties such as “Atropurpureum” and “Burgundy Lace” are red all season. In addition their are variegated varieties and some with leaves so note are fine they look like threads such as “Red Filigree”.

Moreover among smaller maples those also worthy of note are Amur maple “A. ginnala” a tough little tree that grows up to 20 feet and has small, three pointed leaves, fragrant white flowers in early spring, bright red fall foliage and showy red winged fruits. It is even hardy and often it has several trunks but can b etrained to one if desired. Paperback maple “A. griseum” grows about 25 feet tall, has leaves with three distinct leaflets and is valued most for it’s bark, which peels off in papery strips to expose a rust colored layer beneath. It is hardy as well.

Well, if you want to grow maples, than in general are easy to grow and have few pests or disease. Most of them especially red maples need soil with adequate moisture. Most need plenty of sun, and if they are to develop a good fall color, they need a climate that is cool in winter.

Cutleaf Japanese maple should be given a rich moist, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter and some light shade in hot climates. It should be staked until the trunk is well developed, and twiggy growth may be removed from enter as needed though it is usually allowed assume it’s own eccentric forms.

Therefore, Maples in general are pruned in late summer or fall when the sap is no longer running. Most need only occasional attention to remove dead, awkward or crossing limbs, but silver maples should be pruned to eliminate narrow, weak crotches and water sprouts. Paper-bark maples should have lower branches removed to display the trunk.

Also Read: Lamium is an Excellent Ground Cover for Shade

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Originally posted 2016-10-28 16:50:01.

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