Here is complete guide about Maple Tree found in the book called “TREE AND SHRUB  GARDENING  FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA” by “Bob Tanem” and “Don Williamson”,here is an excerpt from the book

Maple Tree

Features: Foliage, bark, fruit, fall color, Habit: small, multi-stemmed, deciduous tree or large shrub Height: 6-80’ Spread: 6-50’ Planting: B&B (December, January), container (spring, as soon as possible after purchase) Zones: 3-9

I LOVE JAPANESE MAPLES BECAUSE THEY HAVE SO MANY LANDSCAPE uses. ‘The more exotic varieties, such as the lace-leaved maples, are red, green or variegated and are wonderful specimen plants.  One of the very special plants that I took with me when I sold the nursery is a beautiful, weeping, red lace-leaf variety I had grafted onto an 8’ green Japanese maple.  The red foliage cascades from the graft to the ground.  One year an 80’ California live oak fell into the crown and destroyed half of the graft, but it recovered nicely and is still bringing me joy.  


     Maples generally do well in full sun or light shade, but preferences vary from species to species.  The soil should be fertile, moist, high in organic matter and well drained.

     Maples respond well to pruning, with the amount depending on what purpose the tree will serve in the garden.  In general, pruning should take place in early January to early February because the heavy sap flow makes it unwise to prune in spring.  As well as being messy, the sap will attract ants.  You can actually begin pruning as soon as the leaves are completely gone in late fall.


     Maples can be used as specimen trees, as large elements in shrub or mixed borders or as garden delineators (informal hedges).  Some are useful as understory plants bordering wooded areas; others can be grown in containers on patios or terraces.

     Few Japanese gardens are without the attractive smaller maples.  Almost all maples can be used to create bonsai specimens.

     A good time to purchase maples is in fall as the leaf color starts to change.  They can be planted at this time.  To improve the coloring of any maple, treat the soil with a solution of iron sulfate in August.


     A. buergeranum (Trident Maple) can grow 20-35’ tall, with an equal spread.  It is drought and heat   tolerant and prefers full sun and acidic soil.  It may suffer winter damage if temperatures drop below 20° F.  As the bark ages, it develops scales that flake off, revealing lighter bark beneath.  The fall color ranges from yellow to red. (zones 5-9)

    A.circinatum (Vine Maple, Oregon Vine Maple) is a Pacific Northwest native that closely resembles A. palmatum.  It grows naturally as an understory tree or shrub in damp areas and along streambanks.  It often becomes a multi-stemmed tree 10-20’ in height, with a greater spread.  This maples is elegant in form and texture, with bright red-green bark and lovely layered foliage.  The fall color ranges from golden in the shade to fire-engine red in open sites.  (Zones 6-9)

     A.davidii (Father David’s Maple) is an excellent four-season tree.  Its distinctive, shiny, olive green bark with silver gray stripes is a great winter feature.  It grows 20-35’ tall and wide and may grow to 50’ in ideal conditions.  Clusters of chartreuse flowers bloom in spring.  The shiny green foliage is tinted bronze in spring and is awash in bright purple, red, orange and yellow in fall. (Zones 6-9)

     A.griseum (Paperbark Maple) is attractive and adaptable to many conditions.  It grows slowly to 20-35’ tall, with a width half or equal the height.  The orange-brown bark peels and curls away from the trunk in papery strips.  Unfortunately, this popular species is difficult to propagate, so it can be quite expensive and sometimes hard to find.  It grows well from seed. (Zones 4-8)

     A.macrophyllum (Bigleaf Maple, Canyon Maple) is a large, deciduous tree.  It grows 50-80’ tall and 30-50’ wide.  It can grow to 100’ tall and 70’ wide in ideal conditions.  The common name comes from the size of the dark green leaves, which turn yellow to orange in fall.  Pendulous clusters of yellow flowers bloom in spring.  It makes a great shade tree for large gardens, estates and parks-it works well on large hillsides-but it should not be used in yards with limited space. (Zones 6-9)

     A.palmatum (Japanese Maple) is considered by many gardeners to be one of the most beautiful and versatile trees available.  Although many cultivars and varieties are quite small, the species itself generally grows 15-25’ tall, with an equal or greater spread.  With enough space, this tree can even reach 50’.  Because it leafs out early in spring, this maple can be badly damaged or killed by a late-spring frost.  The red varieties need to have more sun in order to keep the red in their foliage.  The green and variegated varieties need partial shade.  They make spectacular container plants that can grow for years in the same pot, and they are root pruned every three years.  Two distinct groups of cultivars have been developed from A.palmatum varieties.  Types without dissected leaves, derived from var.atropurpureum, are grown for their purple foliage, though many lose their purple foliage, though many lose their purple coloring as summer progresses.  Two that keep their color are ‘Bloodgood’ and ‘Moonfire,’ both of which grow to about 15’ tall.  Types with dissected leaves, derived from Var.dissectum, have foliage so deeply lobed and divided that it appears fern-like or even thread-like.  The leaves can be green, as in the cultivar ‘Waterfall,’ or red, as in ‘Red Filigree Lace.’  These trees are generally small, growing to 6-10’ tall. (Zones 5-8)

Problems & Pests

     Anthracnose, Verticillium wilt, aphids, caterpillars, leaf cutters, leafhoppers, borers, leaf spots, scale insects and cankers can afflict maples.  Iron deficiency (chlorosis) can occur in alkaline soils.  Leaf scorch can be prevented by watering young trees during hot, dry spells and ensuring the soil pH is not too alkaline.  If the problem is ongoing, apply an antidesiccant prior to the heat spell.