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Paperbark Maple is an excellent tree for special locations. Its bark is exfoliating after second year, cinnamon or reddish-brown in its youth, becoming rich brown with age.

Tree of the Month: Paperbark Maple

By Len Phillips, ASLA Emeritus


Trade Name: Paperbark Maple

Botanical Name: Acer griseum

Parentage: Species introduced into the U.S.

Family: Aceraceae

Introduction: 1901

Hardiness Zone*: 4 – 8

Height: 20 to 30 feet

Spread: 10 to 15 feet

Growth Rate: Slow, 5 feet in 10 years

Form: Upright oval, variable

Bloom Period: May

Flower: Greenish pendulous

Fruit: Samara, greenish ripening to light brown

Spring Color: Mid green

Summer Foliage: Glossy, 3 leaflets, bluish green in summer

Autumn Foliage: Bronze, reddish

Winter Interest: Bark provides winter interest especially with light snow on the bark


Photos provided by Len PhillipsBark: Exfoliating after second year, cinnamon or reddish brown in youth, rich brown with age, trees vary in amount of exfoliation.

Habitat: Grows well throughout most of the U.S.

Culture: Prefers moist, well drained soil, grows in most soils, full sun

Pest Problems: None serious

Storm Resistance: Good

Salt Tolerance: Moderate

Planting: Transplant B&B or by container

Propagating: Seeds

Design Uses: Specimen for lawn, park, and residential

Companions: Use with evergreen groundcovers

Other Comments: Excellent tree for special locations, expensive due to slow growth

Available From: Most retail nurseries.  Exfoliation will vary so personal selection is necessary


*For information about the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, visit: www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/index.html


These are the personal observations of the author, living in New England – Zone 6. Len Phillips can be reached via e-mail at lenphillips@on-line-seminars.com

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