Acer (Maple) Growing Tips
Common name: Maple
There are around 150 species within this family, including deciduous trees and shrubs. They are grown principally for their very attractive foliage, with many leaf forms and colours. Some also have attractive bark. One of the best known is the Japanese maple (), and a number of these are very colourful in the autumn.
Popular species and varieties
Among the taller-growing varieties of Acer palmatum is ‘Bloodgood’ (AGM), with lobed dark red-purple foliage that turns bright red in the autumn. Mature specimens can reach 5m (16ft) or more in height. Also taking on good autumn colour is ‘Osakazuki’ (AGM), which can reach 6m (20ft) in ideal conditions. By contrast, ‘Sang-kako’ (AGM) produces attractive orange-yellow leaves that, as autumn approaches, turn to a soft yellow before falling.
This also grows to around 6m (20ft) in height.
Those in the Dissectum Group of Acer palmatum have a shrubby habit. They eventually grow into dense, medium-sized bushes and are noted for their finely divided foliage. ‘Viride’ has bright green leaves, and ‘Atropurpureum’ has bronze-red foliage: Garnet’ (AGM) is a good choice with reddish-purple leaves, There are a number of other excellent named varieties, and all of the members of this group are more suitable for smaller gardens.
Soil type Most well-drained soils.
Planting This should be carried out between early autumn and late winter whenconditions are suitable — not when very wet or frosty. Choose an open sunny or partially shaded spot sheltered from strong winds, as these can damage young foliage in spring and spoil those noted for their autumn colour.
Maintenance No trimming oris required. Clear fallen leaves in the autumn.
Propagation Species can be grown from seed sown in early autumn and placed in a cold frame. Professional nurserymen propagate named varieties by grafting in early spring on to rootstocks of the type species.
Pests and diseases There are a number of problems that can affect acers. An appropriate insecticide can control aphids, scale insects and caterpillars. Tar spot can sometimes affect acers. This produces black blotches with a yellow edge on the leaves during the summer. Collect and destroy any fallen leaves and spray the acer with fungicide.