Common name: Field Maple
Scientific name: Acer campestre
Introduction: The Field Maple (Acer campestre) is a deciduous-broadleaf tree that is the only UK-native Maple tree. The Field Maple is also tolerant of pollution and an attractive tree in Autumn.
Leaves: The leaves of a field maple are dark-green and palmate shaped, typically with five lobes. They are also relatively small and have a round-toothed edge. In autumn, they turn to a deep, beautiful yellow before dropping.
[The leaves of a Field Maple]
Buds: Their buds are small, grey and form at the end of long stalks.
Bark: Typically, the bark is a light brown-grey colour and flaky, developing fissures over time. Their twigs also develop a corky bark as the tree matures.
[The bark of a Field Maple]
Form: Large and rounded canopy. Can be quite wide.
Field Maples are hermaphrodite, meaning their flowers have both male and female reproductive organs in one flower. Their flowers hang in clusters and are relatively small with a cup-shaped, yellowy-green appearance. Once insects pollinate them, these flowers then turn into large, greeny-red winged fruits. These fruits eventually release pink-tinted seeds which are then dispersed by the wind.
[The flowers of a Field Maple]
With pruning, maples can grow strong and fast. They can exceed heights of 20m and have an average lifespan of 350 years.
Field Maples attract a variety of creatures such as aphids and ladybirds with their leaves providing a food source to moths. The flowers of a Field maple also provide a vital pollen source for bees.
Properties of Field Maple Wood and its Uses
Field Maple wood is a high-density wood that is commonly used for furniture making or for making musical instruments such as harps. It is a creamy brown colour and has a silky shine. The sap of Field maples can also be used to make maple syrup.
Styling of Field Maple/Where to Find Them
You can find Field maples in woods or being grown as hedgerows. They are also a popular choice of garden or park tree.
Associated Pests and Diseases
Field Maples can be susceptible to sycamore gall mite, horse chestnut scale and verticillium wilt caused by fungus-infected soil.
In the medieval era, it was believed that if a field maple branch was passed over a child’s head, then it would relieve witchcraft from their souls. As time progressed, it was then believed that the tree possessed qualities that would strengthen the liver.
Pruning and Pruning Qualities: Without pruning, Field Maples can grow quite wide, which is why pruning is ideal for Field Maples in more compact spaces. Smaller trees typically respond well to regular trimming and shaping too. Ideally, Field Maples should be pruned in late autumn to winter. They are hardy trees so they can be pruned in the colder months. However, you should avoid pruning a tree when temperatures are below 0°c. Pruning not only helps to control growth and encourage thickness but also decreases the risk of disease through increased airflow and sunlight. If you are ever in doubt about what your tree needs or requires then it is always ideal to consult your local tree surgeons who will be able to answer your questions or concerns professionally. Find your local tree surgeon here.
Growth Rate after Pruning: After pruning, Field Maple growth is stimulated, encouraging thicker growth in the following season.
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