Growing the Hedge Maple in the Home Garden

Acer campestre

Field Maple (Acer campestre)
Field Maple (Acer campestre). Frank Sommariva/Getty Images

The hedge maple (Acer campestre) is a deciduous tree. It can be used for its timber and as an ornamental plant. The famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari chose this species for some of his creations. This tree is included with the other maple trees in the Sapindaceae (soapberry) family, though some botanists still consider it to be in Aceraceae.

Common Names:

Other names used besides hedge maple include common maple and field maple.

Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones:

This maple is best suited for Zones 5-8. It originally comes from Asia and Europe. Hedge maple is the sole species in the genus that is native to Britain and has received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society there.

Size & Shape:

It will be 25-35' tall and wide at maturity with a rounded shape. In the wild, under optimal conditions, they could be 85' tall.

Exposure:

You can plant this in a location that receives full sun to part shade, with the full sun being the best option.

Foliage/Flowers/Fruit:

The leaves turn different hues of yellow in the fall. The autumn color display is not as consistent as other maple species, though.

This tree is monoecious and has female and male flowers present on the same plant. They are yellowish-green and not attractive.

The fruit is a dry winged type called a samara. The two wings are joined together and in this species, they are an end to end in a straight line instead of forming an angle.

Design Tips:

This is a good maple species for gardens in urban areas as it can handle problems like pollution, drought, and compacted soil.

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.

Growing Tips:

This species can handle the range of soil pH levels from acidic to alkaline and the different types of soils.

Maintenance/Pruning:

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:

Possible insect invaders are aphids, borers, caterpillars, mites and scales.

Diseases:

You may see cankers, leaf spots, root rots, tar spot and verticillium wilt.