Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Meet The "Paperbark Maple" - Acer griseum
The Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) is a small to medium sized ornamental with wonderful year round interest. It is a slow growing and long living tree that is recommended for zones 5-8. With an average height of only 25 feet and a spread of 15-20 feet wide it is an ideal specimen tree in any size landscape. It has a rounded crown and open growth habitat, allowing sunlight to filter through to reach plantings below.
Image Citation (Photo 1-Leaves in Summer)-Amy Gilliss, Arundel Tree Service- Location: North Carolina Aquarium, Roanoke Island, NC
In early Spring, dark purple-green buds unfurl to reveal three-lobed leaves that are usually three to six inches in length, with blunt toothed margins. Late Spring and into Summer the leaves become a bright green to bluish-green on top with frosty silver undersides. Also in the Spring, the flowers which are often considered insignificant, hang in non-showy inch long clusters of pale yellow-green blooms. Flowers give way to attractive one to three inch red-brown winged fruits in the Fall that may persist on the tree into Winter, and that spread widely when dispersing resulting in very little litter beneath. Late in the Fall, this Maple variety begins its own leaf show – leaves change from yellow to orange, dark vibrant reds, and sometimes even scarlet, crimson, or pink. These leaves hang on the tree well into winter allowing for another level of visual interest.
Image Citation (Photo 2-Leaves in Early Fall) Amy Gilliss, Arundel Tree Service- Location: North Carolina Aquarium, Roanoke Island, NC
Image Citation (Photo 3-Bark and Leaves Close Up) -Amy Gilliss, Arundel Tree Service - Location: North Carolina Aquarium, Roanoke Island, NC
The Paperbark Maple often grows multiple trunks, some even branch out quite close to the ground. This gives it a vase-shaped, and almost sculptured appearance, particularly when the leaves fall in the Winter. On this particular tree, you want to keep it pruned to see as much of the bark as possible, since that bark is one of the most appealing features and the very reason for its name. The bark is a coppery, orange,cinnamon to red-brown exfoliating bark. The bark that gets darker reaching a purple-brown with age. Bark begins peeling on even very young trees, peeling as early as the trees second or third year. Bark peels in curly, translucent, papery strips that remain attached to the trunk and branches until naturally worn away. After peeling, the bark underneath is smooth, lighter tan, salmon, or even rose in color.
With so many interesting features going on throughout the year this tree would make for an amazing centerpiece in any garden. It is especially beautiful against the Bright white Winter snowfall.