The hedge maple (Acer campestre) is a small deciduous tree popular in the urban environment and as foundation plantings in the landscape. The wood has various uses as timber and was used by famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari for some of his creations. This tree is included with the other maple trees in the Sapindaceae (soapberry) family, and is of the Acer genus. Other names used besides hedge maple include common maple and field maple.
This maple is best suited for zones 5-8. Native to Asia and Europe, the hedge maple is the sole species in the genus native to the United Kingdom and has received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society there.
This tree is monoecious and has female and male flowers present on the same plant. They are yellowish-green and insignificant. The leaves turn different hues of yellow or red in the fall. The autumn color display is not as consistent as other maple species, though. The fruit is a dry winged type called a samara. The two wings are joined together and in this species, they are end to end in a straight line instead of forming an angle.
|Common Name||Hedge Maple|
|Botanical Name||Acer campestre|
|Plant Type||Deciduous tree|
|Mature Size||25-30 ft. tall|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, partial shade|
|Hardiness Zones||5-8 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Asia, Europe|
How to Grow Hedge Maple
Hedge maple can adapt to various soil conditions from alkaline to acidic and will grow in different soil types including chalk. Tolerant of pollution, drought and compacted soil, this tree is a good choice for urban environments.
The hedge maple will grow in part shade but full sun provides optimum conditions for this tree that will reach about 30 feet in height with a rounded crown at maturity.
Drought tolerant, the hedge maple can withstand periods of low rainfall. However, if you plan to add this tree to your landscape, give it a good watering weekly the first year during dry conditions.
Due to its tolerance of many soil types, this plant does not require fertilizer in order to thrive. You can add compost to the planting hole and also add mulch to feed young saplings. Take care to avoid mounding mulch up against the trunk of the tree as this can invite insects and disease.
Choose the 'Pulverulentum' cultivar if you want a plant with variegated leaves and 'Postelense' if you want yellow foliage. 'Compactum' is a dwarf cultivar.
If you are interested in creating a bonsai, this is an excellent choice for a maple tree species. Try to find the 'Microphyllum' cultivar as it has smaller leaves that are well suited to one of these tiny trees.
Give your hedge maple a good start by choosing a central leader and some sturdy branches to form a strong framework. The common name is apt since this species can be pruned into an informal or formal hedge.
You may want to limb this up if it is planted next to a walkway or street so the low-growing branches do not obstruct pedestrians or vehicles.
Pests and Disease
The field maple is relatively free of serious pest problems. You may see problems common to trees in the Acer genus including anthracnose, crown gall, cankers, leaf spots, root rots, tar spot, and verticillium wilt.