A genus of fine garden trees and elegant shrubs, especially remarkable for the colour of their foliage in spring and autumn. Not all species are.
The larger trees are grown in parks; the generally smaller ornamental forms are suitable for private gardens as well. Dwarf species, such as the Japanese maples, may find a place even in the smallest. Many maples make suitable specimen trees.
The larger species require well-drained, reasonably nutritious soil. The smaller species, and certainly the Japanese, like rather damp, acid soil, with the exception of Acer palmatum which will tolerate a certain amount of lime.
Common species are grown from, garden forms must be propagated by grafting. Shrub forms are sometimes layered.
Acer campestre, field maple: Tree or shrub, to 20 m in height. In the autumn the five-lobedturn a beautiful yellow. Tolerates a great deal of shade and is therefore suitable for planting under other trees. Often used in hedges as well. For use in small gardens there are more beautiful maples.
Above: Acer griseum.
Acer griseum: If drastically pruned it is a small tree in tem- perate climates, growing to no more than 5-6 m. When the trifoliate leaves appear they are red, in summer they are grey green and in the autumn they change colour to a magnificent red. But the most beautiful feature of this small maple is the peeling bark, disclosing shades of yellow and orange underneath. Make sure, therefore, that the trunk remains clearly visible.
Acer cissifolium: Small tree or shrub to 6 m tall, with spreading habit. Fine three-lobed leaves, turning orange in the autumn.
Acer palmatum (Dissectum autumn colouring)
Acer ginnala: Small tree, sometimes growing as a shrub, to 5 m tall, graceful, free-growing habit. The trifoliate, somewhat heart-shaped leaves grow on slender twigs; in spring they are yellowish green, in the autumn they turn yellow and red. Unfortunately they soon drop.
Acer japonicnm, Japanese maple: Graceful but slow growing shrubs, occasionally small trees, requiring a very sheltered. The graceful foliage is deeply incised; the colour is exceptionally beautiful, both in spring and autumn. There are various garden forms, for instance ‘Aconitifolium’, with foliage resembling that of the peren-