With over 120 different species of Maple Tree, there is one to suit the needs of American landscapers. Many Maple Trees, such as the Norway Maple Tree, Red Maple Tree, and Silver Maple Tree, are popular for their moderate to fast growth rate, sometimes gaining as much as 5 feet a year. Maple Trees are often tall, measuring between 30 and 140 feet; however, some landscapers do work with bonsai cultivars that may be much smaller, measuring as little as two feet. Due to these height discrepancies, some Maple Trees may be planted as ornamental accent trees while others may be planted for shade or lawn coverage.
Some homeowners choose to plant several Sugar Maple Trees in the hope of earning enough sap to create maple syrup, an expensive and increasingly rare delicacy of the Maple Trees. Regardless of the reason, Maple Trees grow well throughout the United States.
Proper planning before purchasing any tree is necessary in order to ensure not only the best-suited tree to the planting location, but also so the tree can thrive. Many Maple Trees are tolerant of harsh planting conditions, and some species, such as the Red Maple, are tolerant of mild pollution. Considering the needs of the plants and the effort on the part of the landscaper can be essential to tree success. Consider the quick-facts below about Maple Trees before reading about the plants needs and benefits in depth in the following sections.
How to Buy Maple Trees
Many of the fastest growing and most popular Maple Trees are cultivated asexually, through the use of grafts or branch planting. The Tree Center ensures proper and well-tended care in the early stages of the Maple Tree’s life, which with proper planting and care at home, results in stronger, healthier trees. Once the species of Maple Tree is chosen, visit The Tree Center to buy a well-loved Maple Tree.
How to Plant Maple Trees
Sun: Plant in full sun with access to partial shade, preferably afternoon shade.
Water: Water immediately after planting and once per week for the first full season, unless it rains. Exclude winter when the tree is dormant.
When to Plant: Early to mid-spring, though Maple Trees planted in summer or early fall can also be successful.
Maple Trees are relatively easy to plant and care for when saplings, and they are a great tree for the beginning tree cultivator. The first step is to determine what type of Maple Tree works best for the planting location. Once the specific Maple species has been chosen, order the tree from The Tree Center.
When the Maple Tree arrives, note the size of the tree’s root ball, or collection of roots at the bottom of the tree. This will help in determining the size of the hole needed.
Dig a hole three times the width of the tree’s root ball, possibly wider. Width is more essential than depth, and this is a mistake many first time planters make. If the hole is too deep, oxygen and water will not be able to reach the roots easily. The hole should be three inches less deep than the height of the Maple Tree’s root ball.
Once the hole has been dug, find a partner. One person should hold the tree vertically in the hole while the other team member backfills the hole with soil and water. If using mulch, add about three inches deep of mulch covering the area recently dug. Water immediately after planting, and once per week for the first six months following transplantation.
Maple Trees are tolerant of various soil types, with most preferring slightly moist, loam-based soils. Soils are classified into three groups. Each group is based on the size of the soil grains. Clay and silt soils have grains that make air and water transference through the soil difficult, making them less than ideal for planting. Loam, which is a mixture of various soil grain sizes, is best as it is usually rich in humus, or organic matter, and the various sized particles allow for easy movement of air and water.
Maple Trees will tolerate most soil types; however, mulch can be beneficial, especially with clay and silt soils. Water will wash away silty soils or water-log clay soils before causing flooding. Mulch helps to diffuse the water evenly around the tree, increasing water accessibility to the plant.
In dry or hot climates, be sure to plant the Maple Tree with appropriate considerations for afternoon shade. Though some species are drought-tolerant, most require relatively moderate rainfall and regular watering. If the area in which the Maple Tree is planted is drought-prone, consider irrigation systems, such as sprinklers.
When watering trees, it is preferable to water heavily once a week rather than lightly several times during the week. Water to a depth of three inches. Check this by digging a small three inch hole, squeezing a handful of soil at this depth. The soil should be wet, exuding water when squeezed immediately after watering.
Maple Trees will show under- or over-watering in their leaves. If the tree is over-watered, the leaves will darken and become droopy. Under-watered, and the leaves will be crispy and dry.
Mulch and Fertilizer
Mulch is beneficial when planting trees. Natural-based mulches work best, especially those made of wood chips. These mulch types will decompose over time, adding nutrient-rich matter to the soil surrounding the tree. Mulch also helps in distributing water and oxygen to the root system of the tree. Mulch slows the process of absorption by the soil, thus enabling more water to reach the plant.
If using fertilizer, use gentle, slow-release fertilizers in the initial stages of growth. Once the tree is mature, stronger fertilizers may be used. Unless the soil is especially poor, fertilizers can actually harm the growth of the new tree.
Information on Maple Trees
Maple Trees are easy to grow and caring for them is a great beginning step for the new tree planter. Native to regions throughout the Northern Hemisphere, with only one known species in the southern hemisphere, most are deciduous trees. Some, in Mediterranean regions are evergreen.
Of the 128 known species within the family Aceraceae, or separated into the two families Hippocastanaceae and Sapindaceae, 54 are threatened. Many of those in the United States that yield concern are due to the Asian Long-horned Beetle, which burrows into the tos of Maples, devastating the tree’s growth. For this reason, new Maple Trees are needed. Maple Trees are planted for their fast-growth qualities, ornamental aspects, or shade-producing abilities.
Maple Tree Varieties and Cultivars
With 128 species known throughout the world, many grow well in the United States. Whether the landscaper is looking for color, shade, or other varied qualities, a Maple Tree can provide for many of these needs. Consider a few of the Maple Tree cultivars below, and visit The Tree Center for additional options.
Autumn Blaze Maple
The Autumn Blaze Maple is a fast-growing, tall Maple Tree towering between 40 and 50 feet. Known for its reliable red leaves in autumn, the Autumn Blaze Maple stretches its boughs outward for between 30 and 40 feet, providing generous shade throughout the late spring and summer.
The Autumn Blaze Maple is actually a hybrid Maple, grown from the cultivation of both the Red Maple and Silver Maple, enabling this tree to have both the familiar and popular coloring of the Red Maple while still providing adaptable drought tolerance.
Norway Maple Trees are often planted in urban environments, as the trees are notably pollutant-tolerant. In addition, Norway Maples also tolerate poor soil conditions and drought. Instead of the brilliant reds of the Autumn Blaze Maple and Crimson King Maple, Norway Maples offer golden hues throughout the spring, summer, and fall. These trees reach upwards of 40 feet tall, enabling them to provide golden summer shade.
Crimson King Maple
Many people mistakenly call the Crimson King Maple a Japanese Maple Tree, due to the tree’s purple-crimson hues throughout the summer. This Maple Tree provides color throughout the growing seasons, making it a popular landscaping choice.
In addition to the unique accent coloring, the Crimson King Maple still reaches between 40 and 50 feet. For this reason, the Crimson King Maple is often used to provide shade to large properties.
Benefits of Maple Trees
Maple Trees may be planted for a variety of reasons. Many Maple Tree varieties are tolerant toward poor conditions with regard to soil, water access, and pollution. In addition, Maple Trees provide favorable seasonal colors, making them a popular aesthetic choice. These easy-to-care-for trees are also frequently planted in an effort to bring shade and heat-reduction costs to the landowners.
Maple Tree Concerns
Despite being relatively easy to grow and adaptable to a variety of conditions, many Maple Trees are threatened. Maple Trees are valued for many reasons: sap, lumber, and construction name only a few of these. Many insects’ larvae, such as aphids and moths, feed on Maple leaves, and the notorious Asian Long-horned Beetle, a large invasive beetle, devour and destroy Maple Trees by the thousands. Maple Trees offer so much, and it is important to continue planting and caring for these traditional North American trees.