If there was a beauty pageant for deciduous trees then we would have no hesitation in handing the Maple the winner's crown. They are unequalled for beauty, grace and leaf colour and deserving of a special place in any planting scheme. The botanically correct name is Acer but they are more commonly known as Maple. Most varieties for sale in garden centres today originated from Japan where they are revered. There are also a few North American varieties and these tend have larger less dissected leaves.
Whilst I personally think Maples look fabulous even when they are naked they really come into their own when the new foliage emerges in spring and when they are showing off their autumn colour. Maples do have flowers which appear before the leaves however they are mostly inconspicuous. There are, as always, some exceptions such as Acer negundo and rubrum which have highly ornamental fringed tassels that attractively drape the bare branches.
Maples perform best in a sheltered spot with protection from harsh wind and hot afternoon sun. They don't like to dry out too much in summer and if it is particularly hot and dry extra mulch around the roots will be of benefit. Due to the conditions in my garden I grow a range of Maples in large pots very successfully, with regular watering and feeding they can stay in the same pot for several years. Japanese varieties especially "weepers" suit container planting best.
You may come across the terms high-work and low-work when shopping for a Maple. High-work simply means that the "head" or top of the Maple has been grafted at a height of 1m plus. All the new growth will start from that point. This system is of growing is usually used for weeping Maples. Low work means the opposite where the graft is at the bottom of the stem.
At Wairere we endeavour to have one of the best ranges of Maples available in all shapes and sizes from upright and bold to weeping and dainty. We're sure you will find one to please - however it is only fair to warn you that these trees are addictive and you'll find it hard to stop at 1!
Did you know that thousands of Maple trees grown in New Zealand are exported world wide even to Japan!