Maples are annoyingly misrepresented here. Japanese maples are so much more popular than they should be, and imposed by just about every so-called ‘landscaper’ with something to prove, although few of them know or care how to take proper care of them. However, maples that actually develop as shade trees are still uncommon or even rare. Only two species are native locally. Of these, box elder (#5) is rather unimpressive, and bigleaf maple (#6) is potentially too big and too messy for refined home gardens. Norway maple has a bad reputation, but ‘Schwedler’ was a good street tree.
1. Acer platanoides – Norway maple is invasive elsewhere. I do not trust it here. I grafted noninvasive ‘Schwedler’ Norway maple on five naturalized saplings. None took. Ugly saplings survive.
2. Acer platanoides – Norway maple should look like this. I do not remember the name of this cultivar. It supposedly has better bronzed color than ‘Schwedler’. I still prefer classic ‘Schwedler’.
3. Acer rubrum – red maple performs quite well in mild climates, and works well as a street tree with symmetrical and rather compact form. I do not remember the name of this cultivar either.
4. Acer circinatum – vine maple should be more popular here. It is a sculptural understory tree like the countless cultivars of Japanese maple, but is not a Japanese maple. That is why I like it.
5. Acer negundo – box elder should probably be less popular than it is. It is the most common maple of North America, and is native to every state except for Alaska and Hawaii. It is wild here.
6. Acer macrophyllum – bigleaf maple is also native, but only to the West Coast. It is the sugaring maple of the West. This specimen is exemplary, but drops a lot of leaves into a few backyards.
This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: