Because trees are not all that easy to move once established, and because they come with a moderately expensive price tag, placing them in the landscape should not be taken lightly. Do your homework and find a specimen that is suited to your conditions and exhibits characteristics that will enhance your garden. The following tried-and true Maple options are small in stature as far as trees go, but big on impact, making them great choices for restricted spaces.
Acer species and cultivars, zones 3 to 9
Spring to fall (foliage), winter (bark, stems)
Full sun to part shade; moist, well-drained, average soil
|The Famous Japanese Maple.|
Paperbark maple (A. griseum and cultivars, zones 4 to 8) and three-flower maple (A. triflorum, zones 4 to 7) lead charge for small plants with attractive exfoliating bark and striking red fall color. Both grow 20 -30 feet tall and usually about half as wide with an upright, roundish habit, sporting the typical trifoliate maple leaves. They make excellent specimen trees in mixed plantings, as does trident maple (A. buergerianum and cultivars, zones 5 to 9), which reaches about the same size with multiple stems and features gold and red fall color. Amur maple (A. tactaricum and cultivars, zones 3 to 7) is another mutlistemmed option that rarely exceeds 20 feet (and is one of my favorites!).