Also known as
7 years to reach maturity
This plant has no fragrance
More images of Maple
Plants in the Acer genus are commonly known as Maples and Sycamores, and most have foliage that produces striking autumn colour, from deep red through bronze, orange to striking yellow or gold. Some have attractive bark, and the smaller cultivated varieties with finger-like, lacy or palmate leaf shapes are an attractive choice for large containers, courtyards or smaller gardens. Large types make stunning specimen trees, adding structure to more extensive gardens, parks or other public places. The smaller, colourful Japanese maples are low maintenance additions to most spaces, needing only a sheltered, partially shaded location and an annual feed to encourage an impressive seasonal change display. Larger species will happily grow in most spots, provided they are given water for their first few years to help them get established. They like moist but well-drained, fertile soil and a sunny position. The Acer genus comprises over 150 evergreen and deciduous tree and shrub species that are originally woodland trees. Maple sap is harvested from the species Acer saccharun, which is turned into maple syrup, and the timber from several of the larger Acer species is used in a wide variety of products. Also, species such as A. palmatum, A campestre and A. buergerianum are popular choices for training as "Bonsai". Most Acers are fully hardy and their small yellow-greenish - sometimes red - flowers appear in Spring, followed by brown or more colourful winged fruits - often in pairs. Many prefer acid soil, which enhances their red colouring in Autumn.
Common problems with Maple
Acer tar spot (rhytisma acerinum), Sycamore sooty bark disease (Cryptostroma corticale), Leaf scorch and Winged cork disease may be a problem.
How to harvest Maple
Maple sap can be collected by tapping the trunk once the sap starts to rise in spring. Timber is cut when the tree is mature.
How to propagate Maple
Graft in late winter.
The samaras (winged seeds) need to experience a period of cold before they germinate. The seeds can be sown as soon as they are ripe by removing the wings and sowing into pots of compost and kept in cold frames over winter to appear in spring.
Bend branches down to the ground in autumn or early spring as the best way to propagate named cultivars.
Special features of Maple
Some species suitable for bonsai
Attracts useful insects
Some maples attract pollinators
Other uses of Maple
Maple wood has a variety of uses. Its decorative wood grain is used for a variety of purposes from building to making musical instruments and chopping blocks. It is also used in pulpwood production.