Maple trees, or Acer to use the Latin name, make up some of our most popular ornamental trees. Acer is a relatively large genus of approximately 128 species of trees and shrubs and over 700 cultivars. Ornamental Tree Nurseries have a huge range of Acer trees, including: Japanese Maple, Norway Maple and some more unusual varieties. Acer trees make fantastic ornamental trees because of their fast growth; ability to transplant successfully and their lack of hard seeds which on other trees can make mowing lawns difficult.
Acer trees make a great addition to garden and planting schemes. As there is such a great choice, you will be able to find a Maple tree suited for any type of planting situation, from cold exposure, to sheltered and shaded. Acer trees are primarily known for their leaves, which are easily recognised. However, Maples also produce flowers in a range of colours, including green, yellow, orange and red as well as fruits called 'samaras'. Acer fruits are commonly known as 'maple keys', 'whirlybirds' and 'polynoses'. Due to their shape, which is designed to spin as they fall, children refer to them as helicopters. The US army even designed an air drop supply carrier based on this 'helicopter' technique. This special air drop allowed them to carry 65 pounds of supplies during World War II.
Culturally, the maple leaf has been a common symbol for strength and endurance. It is featured on both the Canadian flag and the Canadian coat of arms. It is also their national tree and is used as the military rank insignia for Canadian generals.
There are many collections of Maple trees, called aceretums. Both the UK and the US have several collections with the largest in the world being in Boskoop, Netherlands. As Acer trees often have attractive autumn foliage colour, many countries have leaf-watching traditions. The Japanese custom of watching Acer leaves change colour is called momijigari. The same tradition is called Danpung-Nori in Korea.
The ever popular maple syrup is of course made from a type of maple tree (sugar maple - Acer saccharum). It takes approx. 40 litres of sap to make 1 lite of syrup.
Certain species of maple tree make for good timber. Sugar maple is used for making bowling pins, bowling alley lanes, pool cue shafts and butcher's blocks.
Known as a tonewood (meaning that is carries sound waves well) it is also used for making several types of musical instruments as it has a brighter sound than mahogany. Maple made instruments include: violins, violas, cellos, double basses, electric guitars, drums and drum sticks.
To view Ornamental Tree Nurseries' full range of Maple Trees, click here.