Field maple is one of the most popular and also cheapest trees for the home garden. The good thing about these plants is that they are easy to prune. They can be kept at any height and width. In addition, the shrubs or trees are quite frugal and robust and require very little care. The location and plant substrate and of course some things to consider when cutting. Otherwise, the field maple is largely self-sufficient and grows quite quickly, at least in the first few years. The following text tells you what to consider when planting and cutting.
Table of Contents
- Belongs to the genus of maples
- Soapberry family
- About 150 maple species worldwide
- Has the widest range of all maple species
- Almost everywhere in Europe, Western Asia, Northwest Africa
- Deciduous shrub, rarely tree
- Usually multi-stemmed
- Up to 10m high, trunk circumference up to 1m
- Sometimes even higher, up to 20m
- 150 to 200 years old
- Flowering from May to June – yellow
- Monoecious, separate sexes – inconspicuous
- Typical maple leaves, three to five lobes
- Leaf lobes blunt, not pointed
- Split fruits with double-winged nutlets
- Cardiac root system to a depth of 1m
- Very nice autumn colour
- Rarely planted in forests, but often in parks and gardens
- Suitable as a hedge
- ‘Elsrijk’ – cone field maple – compact, cone-shaped crown, 6 to 10 m high and 4 to 6 m wide, grows stiffly upright, little mildew infestation, one of the most robust varieties
- ‘Carnival’ – white variegated field maple – white variegated leaves, tender pink spots when they shoot, grows with a rather round crown
- ‘Nanum’ (sometimes compactum) – spherical field maple – weak and spherical growing, usually available as a grafted standard
- ‘Postelense’ – round crown, 10 m tall and wide, young leaves are golden yellow, turning green in the course of summer, weaker growth
- ‘Magic Spring’ – white marbled leaves, orange-red when they shoot, very attractive variety, 3 to 4 m tall and wide, loosely upright growth
- ‘Royal ruby’ – dark green foliage, shoots red to wine-red, about 3.5 m high after 10 years, beautiful yellow autumn colours
- ‘Red Shine’ – intense red shoots, the leaves later turn bronze-green, slow growth, grows 3 to 4 m high and 2 to 3 m wide
- ‘Pulverulentum’ – variegated white foliage, mottled with many light spots, more yellow-green than true green, densely branched growth, up to 8 m tall
- ‘Easleigh Weeping’ – trailing form, slow growing, more suited to partial shade, green leaves
- ‘Green Weeping’ – weeping form of the Spanish field maple, green leaves, 3 m high after 10 years, hardy
- ‘Queen Elizabeth’ – glossy dark green leaves, grows stiffly upright, graceful tree to 12 m, does not like hard soil
- ‘Schwerinii’ – red-brown leaves when they shoot, later dark green, grows stiffly upright, 5 m high after 10 years, susceptible to powdery mildew
Field maple care
The field maple is one of three maple species that grow everywhere in Germany. In addition to the sycamore maple and the Norway maple, the field maple is a popular tree. The plant remains comparatively small and is characterized by its rather gnarled growth. When young, the field maple grows quite quickly, up to 50 cm per year, but it decreases over the years. This maple is extremely warmth-loving and heat-tolerant, while also being absolutely winter-hardy and wind-resistant. If you don’t have that much space in the garden, there are also weaker or smaller cultivars.
Field maple is ideal as a wind and bird protection hedge. Since the wood does not lose its leaves until late in autumn, the hedge remains opaque for a long time. The foliage of the tree decomposes quickly and is therefore ideal for leaf composting. Care is easy if the location and plant substrate are right. A sunny to partially shaded location is recommended. Warmth and a little dryness are important, but not too much. The plant substrate should be fresh and contain some nutrients. When planting, it is important that the leafless plants are cut back by a third. The soil should be mulched, which will prevent it from drying out too much. The soil should be kept moist, but not too much. As a rule, it is sufficient to provide nutrients in spring with plenty of compost.
Field maple tolerates pruning well and can be pruned back several times a year. Overwintering is possible without any problems, they are native plants. Propagation is by sowing, including self-sowing. Diseases and pests are rare.
The location should be warm and sunny to semi-shady. In addition, the space that the tree will eventually occupy must be planned for. There should also be enough space for hedges, although you can cut them quite narrow.
- Sunny to semi-shady
- Too shady location leads to stunted growth
- Prefers quite dry places
- Extremely warmth-loving and also heat-tolerant.
- Good urban climate compatibility
- Copes with light road salt exposure
The plant substrate should be fresh and contain some nutrients. Soil that is too dry or too wet is unfavorable, although you can do something about dryness, but not about wetness. Otherwise, the trees get along with most fairly normal soils.
- Likes fresh, nutrient-rich soils, but can also handle poorer soils (slower growth)
- Moist to alternating dry
- warm floors
- Sandy-loamy to loamy
- Slightly acidic to alkaline
- Slightly calcareous soils are tolerated
- No highly acidic or clayey soil – bad for root growth
There is nothing special to consider when planting. The planting hole must be big enough. To improve the soil, plenty of humus should be in the planting hole. The cheapest is the field maple as root goods. However, these can only be purchased from autumn or winter (from October). Balled goods are available all year round and can also be planted, except when there is frost.
- Dig a sufficiently large planting hole
- Cut back the field maples by a third before planting. So the plants grow bushier.
- Dip bales in water
- Also water bare-root trees before planting, if possible for 24 hours
- Add good compost and potting soil to the planting hole.
- Don’t fertilize
- It is best to mulch the soil to avoid drying out
- Planting distance when planting hedges 60 to 80 cm
- Distance as a solitaire – 5 m
- Support the tree with a stake so that it can grow straight
watering and fertilizing
The soil should always be kept slightly moist, although the field maple is quite drought tolerant. Drying out should not become a habit, it weakens the trees and makes them susceptible to diseases and pests. Regular watering is better. Wetness is not recommended, however, as this damages the plants even more.
- Keep moist, but never too moist
- Water and fertilize regularly
- High drought tolerance, but should not dry out completely
- Fertilize with plenty of compost in spring
Field maple is extremely pruning friendly. This is what makes the plants so popular as hedge plants. While it’s nice to have a fast-growing plant for the display hedge, it also has a major disadvantage. You have to reach for the scissors regularly, at least twice a year, sometimes better three times.
- Good pruning tolerance, which is why it is also well suited as a hedge plant.
- Crown can be kept small
- Pruning appointments twice a year
- Spring pruning – ideal for heavy pruning measures
- fall pruning
- Don’t cut when it’s freezing or the sun is shining
- Cut in a pyramid shape – this is the only way for the hedge to remain well branched at the bottom even when it is old
- Can also be set up on the stick, i.e. cut down completely
Field maple is sufficiently hardy. When kept in a planter, it is good to bury the tree or shrub in a shady spot in the garden in a box with sand and peat for the winter. This is also ideal for bonsai cultures, for which the field maple is also well suited.
Field maple likes to multiply itself. You have to be careful not to pull out all the seedlings that keep appearing. If you don’t have a tree in your garden yet, you can get seeds and sow them yourself. This is quite simple.
- Cold germinator – Seeds need to be stratified if you want to grow them indoors
- Otherwise it is sufficient to plant the seeds seed-deep there in the garden where you want the tree.
- Better not just use one seed, but several.
- If several grow up, the ones you don’t need can simply be pulled out of the ground later.
- Don’t let the soil dry out, but don’t keep it too wet either!
diseases and pests
Diseases occur mainly in unfavorable locations and wrong soil. Powdery mildew is quite common and aphids are also quite regular. Unless the infestation is very severe, you don’t have to do anything about both.
- Gall mites – galls on the leaves, recognizable by small, round or ovoid elongated bumps that are conspicuously red in color. These harmless growths in leaf tissue (galls) are caused by the sucking action of microscopic gall mites . The tree itself is not damaged. Fighting is usually not necessary.
- Powdery Mildew – Off-white coating on leaves that is easily wiped off. Often occurs during drought stress. Doesn’t need to be treated. In the case of severe infestation, it is advisable to dispose of the leaves in autumn so that the fungus responsible cannot survive in them. He hibernates like this.
- Leaf spot disease – maple leaf spot – initially small black spots on the leaves that later grow and turn brown. Eventually these leaves fall off. The disease usually occurs during drought stress and does not need to be treated.
- Verticillium Wilt – Fungal disease that is common in gardens. The fungus enters the tree via the roots and clogs the pathways. The leaves are wilting. Often not the entire tree is affected, but only parts of it. The affected parts can be removed. You have to cut into the healthy tissue. Similar phenomena can also be triggered by root damage or drought.
- Tree cancer – also due to fungal attack. Causes the bark to break open. Infested twigs and branches should be removed and burned. If the trunk is affected, the canker must be excised. Better to have it done by a professional.
- Maple aphid – very small, green or black, mostly bristle aphids, usually sit along the leaf veins, heavy honeydew formation, small trees can be sprayed, larger ones this is usually not possible
Frequently Asked Questions
Can an old field maple hedge that is 2 m wide be cut back to 1 m?
Yes, that’s not a problem in principle. The correct cutting date is important. It should be cut in March. The cut also serves as a rejuvenation.
How long does it take for a field maple hedge to grow thick?
You have to reckon with 3 to 4 years. It is important to prune the plants twice a year. The more you cut, the better the trees sprout and become more and more dense.