There’s a chill in the air, leaves are changing, and everyone you know is talking about what they’re going to be this year for Halloween. That can only mean one thing: autumn is finally here!
Autumn is quite dramatic here in the Pacific Northwest as our dense forests turn dozens of different shades of red, yellow, and orange. One of the most striking trees you’ll see this fall is the stately maple tree. With over one hundred different varieties, there are plenty of options on your figurative palet. Fall provides a unique opportunity for the home arborists to make their property shift and change with the seasons, and here at Mr. Tree, we’re happy to help you achieve your vision!
Here are some maple tree varieties you can add to your property that will bring charm not only this fall, but for seasons to come as well.
The name alone tells you the most distinctive feature of this maple tree. It’s no understatement, either. The leaves of a bigleaf maple can grow to be over a foot across, giving it the largest leaves of any maple tree. In fall, those huge leaves turn spectacular shades of yellow and gold. It grows abundantly through the Pacific Northwest, enjoying the temperate climate of the region. The bigleaf maple looms high in the forest, reaching heights of up to eighty feet.
With a canopy that can spread out to fifty feet and such wide leaves, the bigleaf maple makes an excellent shade tree. You’ll be particularly grateful for that wide canopy in the summer when all that shade helps you beat the heat. While the coloration in fall is beautiful, the large leaves this maple tree is known for can be quite a chore to clean up once they start falling from the branches. Still, if you have the space and don’t mind raking, the bigleaf maple can be an excellent feature on any property.
The elegant Japanese maple is a wonderful feature in any landscape design. The many different cultivars of the Japanese maple give plenty of options for color, size, and shape, giving you some room for design. Leaves range from green to red in the summer, and they can range in size from a small shrub to twenty plus feet tall. They respond well to training, allowing you to guide and shape the tree to fit your needs.
Japanese maples are handsome enough to stand alone, but they also work well as an accent or as part of a backdrop. With proper care, you can even cultivate them as a bonsai tree. With so many ways to adapt the Japanese maple to your own property, you’ll be sure to find a place for it near your home.
If the sugar maple looks familiar, there’s probably a good reason why. Found all over the forests of the Northeast U.S., it’s been made the state tree of New York, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Some people will even tell you that it’s the maple tree featured on the Canadian flag. Clearly, the sugar maple is beloved by many, so why not bring such a famous tree to your own property?
While this maple tree has long been valued for its lumber and syrup production, it’s also widely used in public and private landscaping design. The sugar maple can grow up to seventy-five feet in such projects, but larger ones have been found in the wild. Its single straight trunk, pointed crown, and wide branches are all attractive features for gardeners across the country. What the tree is really known for, though, is its seasonal colorations. The bright fall foliage of the sugar maple is a major part of New England’s reputation for beautiful fall color. Its leaves can turn a multitude of yellow and orange shades, creating quite a dramatic effect.
If you’re looking for something tried and true, the sugar maple might be the maple for you.
Taking its name from the silvery undersides of its leaves, the silver maple is a wonderful addition to any property. It can be transplanted easily when small and grows quickly once planted. The silver leaves become even more apparent with a breeze, creating a shimmering effect as it flutters in the wind. It became quite popular as an ornamental tree in the fifties, due to its fast growth and tolerance to urban environments. There are, however, a few things you should consider before planting one on your property.
First, ensure you have enough space for its wide-spreading root system. There’s no reason to have your sidewalk destroyed by your own landscaping. Second, know that this maple tree requires plenty of love and care. If not pruned and trimmed, the silver maple can quickly lose its form. Additionally, its fast growth leads to softer wood, which in turn leads to branches breaking in bad weather. With plenty of attention though, you’ll have a wonderful shade tree for the summer.
Native to the Pacific Northwest, the vine maple has found a home in both the evergreen forests and the yards of local homes. It tends to be a bit smaller than other maple trees, generally growing to about fifteen to twenty feet. Since it is typically found in the understory of forests, it can live comfortably in both open sunlight and in the shade. It grows multiple trunks, each reaching out to find the best source of light.
The shape of a vine maple will actually depend on where it is planted, the light or lack thereof helping inform it’s growth. In open sunlight, it will grow in an upright fashion. When grown in the shade, its branches will spread out more openly. The branches and trunks are also easily trained, allowing the creative gardener to coax it into the shape or design they want.
The vine maple’s light flexibility and pliable branches have made it a favored choice of gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, particularly those looking to work with trees well suited to the region.