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Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

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Zones 2-9, 14-17
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Full, Partial
Regular Water

Acer campestre

Hedge Maple
Deciduous, Trees


Maples are a varied group. They may be large and midsize shade trees; smaller trees; and dainty, picturesque shrub-trees. Leaves range from simple ovals to deeply lobed and finely dissected shapes. One element common to all maples is the fruit (seed capsule), which resembles a hardware store wingnut.

Many maples have beautiful fall color. Look for one that colors well in your locale; visit nurseries while the foliage is changing hue.

The larger maples have extensive fibrous root systems that take water and nutrients from the topsoil. The great canopy of leaves calls for a steady, constant supply of water, not necessarily frequent watering but constantly available water throughout the root zone. Occasional deep watering and periodic feeding will help keep roots deep.

Medium to large maple species need little pruning. On smaller types, prune to accentuate the natural shape. To minimize sap bleed, make any cuts in summer or early fall in mild-winter areas, from summer to the end of January where temperatures remain below freezing.

Acer campestre ‘Carnival’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Acer campestre ‘Carnival’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Acer campestre

Native to Europe, western Asia. Slow growing to 70 ft., but seldom over 30 ft. tall and wide in cultivation. Forms a very dense, compact, rounded head in the Northwest; thinner in California. Leaves with three to five lobes are dull green above, downy beneath; turn yellow in fall. ‘Carnival’ grows slowly to about 10 ft. high and wide; new growth is pink, gradually turning green with white margins. ‘Metro Gold’ grows to 35 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide, with low seed set (so it doesn’t produce as many seedlings) and good fall color. ‘Postelense’ has a spreading habit, reaches about 10 ft. tall, produces golden new leaves that turn lime green in summer. ‘Pulverulentum’ has variegated leaves, grows 12 ft. tall in 10 years.

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