Posted in Small Trees
July 30, 2016

Small Sustainable Maples for the Urban Landscape

When designing for the landscape it is important to understand the size and requirements of the plants that you are working with. A misplaced plant may look good on the short term, but this is not sustainable. The plant with either not perform well and begin to decline, or it will out grow out of its space in the landscape and become an issue. Maples are a beautiful tree that dominate the landscape, especially in the Fall with the wide variety of colors. Anything from yellow to oranges, to reds and purples. These trees are durable and problem free when properly sited and maintained. Small trees are important because they can draw attention to a portion of the landscape without taking up a lot of space. Here is a list of small maples that are well suited for a zone 5&6 landscape. All of these maples mature to no more than forty feet, and many are less than thirty feet.

Small maples for the landscape (under 40 feet)

Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple)

Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’

Culture

Easily grown in moist, organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in sandy loams. May be grown in full sun in the northern parts of its growing range, but prefers some part afternoon shade in the southern parts (including St. Louis) of its growing range. New foliage may scorch in full sun locations in hot summers areas, particularly if soils are not kept consistently moist. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and keep roots cool. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Avoid hot and dry sites. Fertilize in spring before leaves emerge. Pruning is best kept to a minimum, but if needed should be done in late fall to mid winter. Spring or summer pruning often results in significant bleeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer palmatum, commonly called Japanese maple, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that typically grows to 10-25′ (infrequently to 40′) tall. It is native to Japan, Korea and China. General plant form is rounded to broad-rounded, often with low branching. Each palmate green leaf (2-5″ long) has 5 or 7 but less frequently 9 pointed toothed lobes. Small reddish-purple flowers in umbels bloom in mid spring (April). The flowers are rather attractive close up, but are not particularly showy from a distance. Flowers are followed by samaras (to 3/4″ long) in pairs. Samaras ripen in September-October. Fall color includes shades of yellow, red-purple and bronze. Cultivars (often grafted) are quite variable.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet is in reference to the palmate nature of the leaves. Each leaf has several lobes (typically 5–7) that all originate from one point looking like an open hand with outstretched fingers.

‘Bloodgood is a non-dissected type that grows into a small, rounded, deciduous tree which typically grows to 15-20’ tall and features purplish-red flowers in spring, deep reddish-purple summer foliage, red samaras in late summer to early fall and good crimson-red fall color. As with many maples, the flowers are rather attractive close up, but are not particularly showy from a distance. Palmate leaves (5-7 lobes) are 2-5″ long. May also be grown as a multi-stemmed shrub.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Potential disease problems include stem canker, leaf spots, fusarium, verticillium wilt, botrytis, anthracnose and root rots. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, borers and root weevils. Mites may be troublesome. Foliage tends to leaf out early in spring and is subject to damage from late spring frosts. Chlorosis may occur in high pH soils.

Garden Uses

Japanese maples are generally grown for their attractive foliage and shape. Specimen/accent or group around the home or yard or periphery of the border. Good sun-dappled understory tree. Woodland garden margins. Screen. Bonsai.

Acer palmatum ‘Emperor 1’

Culture

Easily grown in moist, organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in sandy loams. May be grown in full sun in the northern parts of its growing range, but prefers some part afternoon shade in the southern parts (including St. Louis) of its growing range. New foliage may scorch in full sun locations in hot summers areas, particularly if soils are not kept consistently moist. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and keep roots cool. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Avoid hot and dry sites. Fertilize in spring before leaves emerge. Pruning is best kept to a minimum, but if needed should be done in late fall to mid winter. Spring or summer pruning often results in significant bleeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer palmatum, commonly called Japanese maple, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that typically grows to 10-25′ (infrequently to 40′) tall. It is native to Japan, Korea and China. General plant form is rounded to broad-rounded, often with low branching. Each palmate green leaf (2-5″ long) has 5 or 7 but less frequently 9 pointed toothed lobes. Small reddish-purple flowers in umbels bloom in mid spring (April). The flowers are rather attractive close up, but are not particularly showy from a distance. Flowers are followed by samaras (to 3/4″ long) in pairs. Samaras ripen in September-October. Fall color includes shades of yellow, red-purple and bronze. Cultivars (often grafted) are quite variable.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet is in reference to the palmate nature of the leaves. Each leaf has several lobes (typically 5–7) that all originate from one point looking like an open hand with outstretched fingers.

‘Wolff’ (Amoenum Group), commonly marketed under the trade name of EMPEROR I, is a moderately-sized red-leaved Japanese maple that typically matures to 15′ tall and as wide. Attractive dark purple red foliage in spring and summer turns scarlet red in fall. Each palmate leaf has 5-7 serrate, deeply-cut lobes (divided 3/4 of the way to the leaf base). Lobes are broadest in the middle with long tapered tips.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Potential disease problems include stem canker, leaf spots, fusarium, verticillium wilt, botrytis, anthracnose and root rots. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, borers and root weevils. Mites may be troublesome. Foliage tends to leaf out early in spring and is subject to damage from late spring frosts. Chlorosis may occur in high pH soils.

Garden Uses

Japanese maples are generally grown for their attractive foliage and shape. Specimen/accent or group around the home or yard or periphery of the border. Good sun-dappled understory tree. Woodland garden margins. Screen. Bonsai.

Best sited in a sheltered location.

Acer palmatum ‘Burgundy Lace’

Culture

Easily grown in moist, organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in sandy loams. May be grown in full sun in the northern parts of its growing range, but prefers some part afternoon shade in the southern parts (including St. Louis) of its growing range. New foliage may scorch in full sun locations in hot summers areas, particularly if soils are not kept consistently moist. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and keep roots cool. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Avoid hot and dry sites. Fertilize in spring before leaves emerge. Pruning is best kept to a minimum, but if needed should be done in late fall to mid winter. Spring or summer pruning often results in significant bleeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer palmatum, commonly called Japanese maple, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that typically grows to 10-25′ (infrequently to 40′) tall. It is native to Japan, Korea and China. General plant form is rounded to broad-rounded, often with low branching. Each palmate green leaf (2-5″ long) has 5 or 7 but less frequently 9 pointed toothed lobes. Small reddish-purple flowers in umbels bloom in mid spring (April). The flowers are rather attractive close up, but are not particularly showy from a distance. Flowers are followed by samaras (to 3/4″ long) in pairs. Samaras ripen in September-October. Fall color includes shades of yellow, red-purple and bronze. Cultivars (often grafted) are quite variable.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet is in reference to the palmate nature of the leaves. Each leaf has several lobes (typically 5–7) that all originate from one point looking like an open hand with outstretched fingers.

‘Burgundy Lace’ (Matsumurae Group) is a small tree with a rounded-spreading crown that typically matures to 8-12′ tall and to 10-15′ wide. It is particularly noted for its attractive burgundy-red leaves. Each palmate leaf has seven narrow, serrated, deeply-cut lobes (divided 3/4 way to leaf base). Leaves usually retain excellent burgundy color well into summer before turning bronze to green. Bright red fall color. Twigs are green. ‘Burgundy Lace’ was introduced into commerce in 1958 by Vermeulen & Sons in New Jersey.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Potential disease problems include stem canker, leaf spots, fusarium, verticillium wilt, botrytis, anthracnose and root rots. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, borers and root weevils. Mites may be troublesome. Foliage tends to leaf out early in spring and is subject to damage from late spring frosts. Chlorosis may occur in high pH soils.

Garden Uses

Japanese maples are generally grown for their attractive foliage and shape. Specimen/accent or group around the home or yard or periphery of the border. Good sun-dappled understory tree. Woodland garden margins. Screen. Bonsai.

Best located in a sheltered location.

Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’

Culture

Easily grown in moist, organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in sandy loams. May be grown in full sun in the northern parts of its growing range, but prefers some part afternoon shade in the southern parts (including St. Louis) of its growing range. New foliage may scorch in full sun locations in hot summers areas, particularly if soils are not kept consistently moist. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and keep roots cool. Avoid hot and dry sites. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Pruning is best kept to a minimum, but if needed should be done in late fall to mid winter. Spring or summer pruning often results in significant bleeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer palmatum, commonly called Japanese Maple, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that typically grows to 10-25′ (infrequently to 40′) tall. It is native to Japan, Korea and China. General plant form is rounded to broad-rounded, often with low branching. Each palmate green leaf (2-5″ long) has 5 to 7 but less frequently 9 toothed lobes. Small reddish-purple flowers in umbels bloom in spring (April) followed by winged samaras in pairs which ripen in September-October. Fall color includes an often spectacular combination of shades of yellow, red, purple and bronze.

Var. dissectum is typically a much smaller, rounded, slow-growing shrubby form (often with cascading branching) that rarely matures to more than 12′ tall with a larger spread. Palmate leaves, each having 7-11 deeply incised lobes, are deeply cut to the base of the leaf. These dissected-leaf shrubs are commonly called laceleaf Japanese maple, cutleaf Japanese maple or threadleaf Japanese maple. Dissectum means deeply cut in reference to the deeply cut, feathery nature of the leaves.Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet is in reference to the palmate nature of the leaves. Each leaf has several lobes (typically 5–7) that all originate from one point looking like an open hand with outstretched fingers.
‘Seiryu’ is the exception. It is the only dissected cultivar that has an upright form. Mature plants may grow to as much as 10-15’ tall. Deeply cut and dissected leaves (to 2” long) are smaller than the leaves on most other dissectum cultivars. Leaves emerge light green with reddish tipped edges in spring, mature to medium green in summer and turn gold with orange and red hues in fall. Small reddish-purple flowers in spring are somewhat attractive on close inspection, but are not showy from a distance. Cultivar name means green dragon.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Potential disease problems include stem canker, leaf spots, fusarium, verticillium wilt, botrytis, anthracnose and root rots. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, borers and root weevils. Mites may be troublesome. Foliage tends to leaf out early in spring and is subject to damage from late spring frosts. Chlorosis may occur in high pH soils.

Garden Uses

Dissected forms of Japanese maples are generally grown for their attractive foliage and low-spreading shape. Specimen/accent or group around the home or yard or patio or periphery of the border or rock garden. Good sun-dappled understory plant. Dissected foliage and cascading form can be showcased by planting his cultivar near a pond or water garden. Smaller plants can be effective in containers.

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’

Culture

Easily grown in moist, organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in sandy loams. May be grown in full sun in the northern parts of its growing range, but prefers some part afternoon shade in the southern parts (including St. Louis) of its growing range. New foliage may scorch in full sun locations in hot summers areas, particularly if soils are not kept consistently moist. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and keep roots cool. Avoid hot and dry sites. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Pruning is best kept to a minimum, but if needed should be done in late fall to mid winter. Spring or summer pruning often results in significant bleeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer palmatum, commonly called Japanese Maple, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that typically grows to 10-25′ (infrequently to 40′) tall. It is native to Japan, Korea and China. General plant form is rounded to broad-rounded, often with low branching. Each palmate green leaf (2-5″ long) has 5 to 7 but less frequently 9 toothed lobes. Small reddish-purple flowers in umbels bloom in spring (April) followed by winged samaras in pairs which ripen in September-October. Fall color includes an often spectacular combination of shades of yellow, red, purple and bronze.

Var. dissectum is typically a much smaller, rounded, slow-growing shrubby form (often with cascading branching) that rarely matures to more than 12′ tall with a larger spread. Palmate leaves, each having 7-11 deeply incised lobes, are deeply cut to the base of the leaf. These dissected-leaf shrubs are commonly called laceleaf Japanese maple, cutleaf Japanese maple or threadleaf Japanese maple. Dissectum means deeply cut in reference to the deeply cut, feathery nature of the leaves.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet is in reference to the palmate nature of the leaves. Each leaf has several lobes (typically 5–7) that all originate from one point looking like an open hand with outstretched fingers.

‘Crimson Queen’ is a popular cultivar noted for its excellent leaf color retention throughout the growing season. Small reddish flowers in spring give way to samaras which ripen in late summer to early fall. As with many maples, the flowers are rather attractive close up, but are not particularly showy from a distance.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Potential disease problems include stem canker, leaf spots, fusarium, verticillium wilt, botrytis, anthracnose and root rots. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, borers and root weevils. Mites may be troublesome. Foliage tends to leaf out early in spring and is subject to damage from late spring frosts. Chlorosis may occur in high pH soils.

Garden Uses

Dissected forms of Japanese maples are generally grown for their attractive foliage and low-spreading shape. Specimen/accent or group around the home or yard or patio or periphery of the border or rock garden. Good sun-dappled understory plant. Dissected foliage and cascading form can be showcased by planting his cultivar near a pond or water garden. Smaller plants can be effective in containers.

Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Viridis’

Culture

Easily grown in moist, organically rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in sandy loams. May be grown in full sun in the northern parts of its growing range, but prefers some part afternoon shade in the southern parts (including St. Louis) of its growing range. New foliage may scorch in full sun locations in hot summers areas, particularly if soils are not kept consistently moist. Mulch helps retain soil moisture and keep roots cool. Avoid hot and dry sites. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Pruning is best kept to a minimum, but if needed should be done in late fall to mid winter. Spring or summer pruning often results in significant bleeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer palmatum, commonly called Japanese Maple, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that typically grows to 10-25′ (infrequently to 40′) tall. It is native to Japan, Korea and China. General plant form is rounded to broad-rounded, often with low branching. Each palmate green leaf (2-5″ long) has 5 to 7 but less frequently 9 toothed lobes. Small reddish-purple flowers in umbels bloom in spring (April) followed by winged samaras in pairs which ripen in September-October. Fall color includes an often spectacular combination of shades of yellow, red, purple and bronze.

Var. dissectum is typically a much smaller, rounded, slow-growing shrubby form (often with cascading branching) that rarely matures to more than 12′ tall with a larger spread. Palmate leaves, each having 7-11 deeply incised lobes, are deeply cut to the base of the leaf. These dissected-leaf shrubs are commonly called laceleaf Japanese maple, cutleaf Japanese maple or threadleaf Japanese maple. Dissectum means deeply cut in reference to the deeply cut, feathery nature of the leaves.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet is in reference to the palmate nature of the leaves. Each leaf has several lobes (typically 5–7) that all originate from one point looking like an open hand with outstretched fingers.

Dissectum Viride Group is a dwarf, mounded, shrubby, multi-stemmed, green-leaved form with cascading branching and a weeping habit. It typically grows to 6-10′ tall. Michael Dirr suggests that Dissectum Viride Group is a “catch-all term” that covers all green leaf dissected types. Finely cut, palmate (7-9 lobes), green, dissected leaves (2-4” long) turn yellow to red in fall. Small reddish flowers in spring give way to greenish samaras which ripen in late summer to early fall. As with many maples, the flowers are rather attractive close up, but are not particularly showy from a distance.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Potential disease problems include stem canker, leaf spots, fusarium, verticillium wilt, botrytis, anthracnose and root rots. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, borers and root weevils. Mites may be troublesome. Foliage tends to leaf out early in spring and is subject to damage from late spring frosts. Chlorosis may occur in high pH soils.

Garden Uses

Dissected forms of Japanese maples are generally grown for their attractive foliage and low-spreading shape. Specimen/accent or group around the home or yard or patio or periphery of the border or rock garden. Good sun-dappled understory plant. Dissected foliage and cascading form can be showcased by planting his cultivar near a pond or water garden. Smaller plants can be effective in containers.

Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple)

Culture

Easily grown in average, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, well-drained soils. Intolerant of drought. Propagation is difficult (approximately 95% of seed produced is not viable). Woody cuttings are difficult to root, but juvenile cuttings are easier to root.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer griseum, commonly called paperbark maple, is a small, deciduous, oval to oval-rounded tree with slender upright branching. It is particularly noted for its exfoliating copper orange to cinnamon reddish/brown bark and its showy orange to red fall color. It typically matures to 20-30 (40)’ tall. It is native to mixed forests in central China. Bark on the trunk and limbs is extremely ornamental because it peels into large curls which remain on the tree rather that falling to the ground, often in attractive contrast to the tan to rose-brown inner bark. Each trifoliate leaf (3-5” long) features three coarsely toothed leaflets, with the middle leaflet being short-stalked. Leaves are green above, but frosty blue-green to gray-green with fine hairs beneath. Fall color varies, typically ranging from showy shades of orange and red to less spectacular shades of reddish-green to bronze green. Ornamentally insignificant yellowish flowers bloom in April-early May in clusters (drooping cymes to 1” long) on pendulous downy stalks. Flowers give way to winged samaras (to 1 1/4” long) with unusually large seeds.

E. H. (“Chinese”) Wilson brought this tree from China to England in 1899. It was introduced in the U. S. shortly thereafter by the Arnold Arboretum.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word griseus meaning gray in reference to color of the leaf undersides.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Excellent small tree for small properties. Deserves a location where its ornamental features can be appreciated (near a deck or patio). Appropriate as an understory tree in a woodland garden or as a specimen in many locations around the home. Popular bonsai subject, particularly in Europe.

Acer truncatum (Shantung Maple)

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, acidic soils with good drainage. Established trees reportedly have good heat and drought tolerance.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer truncatum, commonly called Shangtung maple, is native to China. It is a small, rounded, deciduous understory tree that typically grows 20-25’ tall with a densely-branched, rounded crown. Features medium green leaves (to 5” across) that have 5 triangular lobes. Leaves emerge reddish purple in spring but mature to dark green. Good fall color features attractive shades of yellow and orange, sometime with purples and reds mixed in. Leaves may be truncate at the base as suggested by the species name. Leaf stems exude a milky sap when cut. Greenish-yellow flowers appear in April-May in clusters (corymbs). As with most maples, the flowers are not showy. Fruit is a samara (to 1.5” long). Sometimes also commonly called purpleblow maple.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet means cut off square in reference to leaves that may be truncated or cut off square at the base.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Excellent small landscape tree or street tree. Specimen around the home for patios and small areas.

Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’ (Crimson King Maple)

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils. Tolerant of heat and drought. Generally tolerant of many urban pollutants. Freely reseeds. Trees have escaped cultivation and naturalized in many areas of the northeastern and upper midwestern U.S. Shallow root system.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer platanoides, commonly called Norway maple, is native to Europe. It has been widely planted in urban areas throughout much of the U.S. It is a medium-sized deciduous shade tree typically growing 40-50’ tall with a dense, symmetrical, rounded crown. Leaves (to 7” across) have five sharply pointed lobes and resemble those of sugar maple. Leaf stems exude a milky sap when cut. Fall color is usually an unremarkable yellow. Small yellow flowers in erect clusters (corymbs) appear in spring before the foliage. Flowers give way to paired seeds with horizontally spreading wings (samaras to 2” long).

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet means resembling platanus (sycamore), which is somewhat curious since the leaves of Norway maple do not really bear that much resemblance to sycamores.

‘Crimson King’ is a red-leaved cultivar which is noted for its rich maroon leaves that last throughout the summer and its purple fruits. Fall color is unremarkable. It is more compact and tends to grow slower than the species. Maroon-yellow flowers appear in clusters before the foliage in spring. Although small, the flowers have interesting ornamental value. Flowers give way to purple samaras (to 2” long) with horizontally spreading wings. ‘Crimson King’ was introduced in the U. S. in 1947 as a seedling of A. platanoides ‘Schwedleri’.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to verticillium wilt which is usually fatal. Shallow root system can crack or heave nearby driveways or sidewalks. Shallow surface roots can interfere with turf. Bark is susceptible to sunscald and cracking (frost cracks) in winter, particularly on younger trees. The thick canopy of leaves and shallow roots severely limits what can be grown within the drip line of the tree.

Garden Uses

Shade tree. Although once widely planted as a street tree, this use is not generally recommended in many areas now.

Acer rubrum ‘Sun Valley’ (Sun Valley Red Maple)

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, but prefers moist, slightly acid conditions. Very cold hardy.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer rubrum, commonly called red maple, is a medium-sized, deciduous tree that is native to Eastern North America from Quebec to Minnesota south to Florida and eastern Texas. It typically grows 40-60’ tall with a rounded to oval crown. It grows faster than Norway and sugar maples, but slower than silver maple. In northern states, red maple usually occurs in wet bottomland, river flood plains and wet woods, but in Missouri it typically frequents drier, rocky upland areas. Emerging new growth leaves, leafstalks, twigs, flowers, fruit and fall color are red or tinged with red. Quality of red fall color on species plants is variable. Leaves (to 2-5″ long) have 3 principal triangular lobes (sometimes 5 lobes with the two lower lobes being largely suppressed). Lobes have toothed margins and pointed tips. Leaves are medium to dark green above and gray green below. Flowers on a given tree are primarily male or female or monoecious and appear in late winter to early spring (March-April) before the leaves. Fruit is a two-winged samara.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet of rubrum meaning red is everywhere in evidence: red flowers in dense clusters in late March to early April (before the leaves appear), red fruit (initially reddish, two-winged samara), reddish stems and twigs, red buds, and, in the fall, excellent orange-red foliage color.

‘Sun Valley’ is a U.S. National Arboretum introduction. It is a male selection that is noted for having a symmetrical ovate crown and exceptional red fall color. It typically grows to 21’ tall over the first 10 years, eventually maturing to as much as 30-35’ tall in ideal growing conditions. It is the result of a cross between A. rubrum ‘Red Sunset’ and A. rubrum ‘Autumn Flame’. Reddish male flowers appear in early spring. No fruit is produced. Medium green leaves (to 4” long). Fall color for this cultivar appears as a brilliant red in late fall.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids, leafhoppers, borers, scale and caterpillars. Verticillium wilt attacks the vascular system and can be fatal. Canker, fungal leaf spot and root rots may also occur. Wind and ice may break some branches. Leaf hoppers can cause substantial damage.

Sun Valley’ reportedly has good resistance to leaf hoppers.

Garden Uses

Plant as a specimen tree for the lawn, street or park. It is of note that this tree has a shallow, flattened root system that may buckle nearby sidewalks or driveways if planted too close.

Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ (Full Moon Maple)

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best foliage color occurs with part afternoon shade. Leaves may scorch in full sun. Plants prefer cool summer conditions. Site in locations protected from strong winds. Late spring frost may damage foliage.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer shirasawanum, sometimes commonly called full moon maple or shirasawa maple, is native to Japan. It is similar in appearance to Acer japonicum. It is a small, slow-growing, upright-rounded, deciduous tree that over time may rise to 16-20’ tall. It also grows as a multi-stemmed shrub. Round leaves (to 4” long) with 9-13 shallow lobes turn gold to orange to red in fall.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Species name honors Japanese dendrologist Miho Shirasawa (1868-1947).

‘Aureum’ is a popular yellow-leaved cultivar that is most noted for its showy bright yellow foliage (sometimes edged with red) in spring. Foliage gradually darkens to yellow-green by summer before turning attractive shades of orange-red (sometimes tinged with purple) in fall. Reddish-purple flowers in erect corymbs bloom in spring. Flowers give way to attractive red samaras (to 3/4” long) which contrast well with the foliage. Samaras mature to brown in fall. ‘Aureum’ was formerly listed as a cultivar of Acer japonicum. Although removed from A. japonicum and placed in A. shirasawanum in 1984, this popular cultivar is still commonly called golden fullmoon maple in some circles.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to verticillium wilt, leaf spots, root rots, anthracnose, collar rot and stem canker. Potential insect pests include aphids, scale, borers and caterpillars. Mites may appear.

Garden Uses

Grown primarily for its attractive foliage, bushy shape and excellent fall color. Specimen/accent or group around the home, patio or yard. Good understory tree/shrub for the landscape.

Acer tataricum (Tataricum Maple)

Culture

Easily grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Performs well in full sun or bright, sun-dappled locations. Some tolerance for drought. Best performance occurs in areas with cool summer climates.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer tataricum, commonly called Tatarian maple, typically grows as a small, upright spreading tree with a dense, rounded crown or as a large multi-stemmed shrub. It matures over time to 15-20’ tall. It is native to forested areas from western Asia to southeastern Europe. Unlobed, broad-ovate, medium green leaves (to 4” long) with irregular doubly serrate margins are found on mature trees. Leaves on young trees are often 3 lobed. Leaves turn yellow and red in fall. Greenish-white flowers in erect, long-peduncled panicles bloom in spring. Flowers are followed by winged samaras (to 1” long) that turn a showy red in summer/fall as they mature.

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet is in reference to certain areas of Siberia and Mongolia (Tatary) that were invaded and occupied in the Middle Ages by the Tatars.

Acer tataricum subsp. ginnala and its cultivars are more often found in cultivation thanA. tataricum.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Verticillium wilt, stem canker, leaf spots, tar spot and anthracnose may appear. Watch for aphids, borers, scale, leafhoppers, caterpillers and mites. Plants have escaped cultivation and naturalized by self-seeding in certain parts of the eastern U.S.

Garden Uses

Interesting specimen shrub or tree for the landscape.

 

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