Maples for Autumn Colour
As the weather cools in late summer and the days shorten noticeably so the deciduous trees and shrubs begin to withdraw chlorophyll from their leaves in preparation for the winter shutdown. With less of that vital green pigment to mask them, the other colours within the leaves begin to show through. While the best of the autumn color may be over for this year, the coming winter months are the time to consider how best to prepare for next years autumn glory.
When it comes to the most vibrant tones, the genus Acer, the maples, includes many sterling contributors. Most of the 150-odd species of maples are deciduous trees, though some are shrubby and a few are evergreen. Acer is primarily a temperate northern hemisphere genus, ranging from around 59°N southwards to the mountains of the subtropics. With the exception of a few Eurasian species, principally the Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) and the Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), most of our garden maples are derived from Asian and North American species.
Maples do flower, but apart from a few with showy tassel-like blooms, most are grown solely as foliage plants, And while the thrust of this article is about autumn colour, many of the best autumn maples are also excellent spring and summer foliage plants.
Of course, getting good autumn colours depends greatly on the climate and the shades vary from year to year even in districts known for their autumn foliage. Generally the best colours develop during a prolonged autumn with warm, still days and cool but not freezing nights. Soon after the first frosts strike the last leaves fall.
Although most maples colour to some extent in autumn, the following species and their cultivars are readily available and among the brightest and most reliable.
The Golden Full-moon Maple (Acer japonicum var. aureum) has rounded lime green spring leaves that become yellow as they mature then turn golden and red in autumn. It is now more properly known as Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum'.
Regardless of its preference for cool, humid conditions and a tendency to develop die-back, the Japanese maple is nearly everyone's favourite small tree. The autumn foliage colour of the purple- or red-leaved forms is usually just a more intense shade of the summer colour, while those with green to pale gold leaves develop shades of red, orange, gold and yellow.
For autumn colour consider: 'Bloodgood', deep red; 'Aureum', deep gold; 'Beni Kagami', bright red; 'Hessei', red; 'Dissectum', bright orange; 'Dissectum Atropurpureum', red; 'Linearilobum Atropurpureum', bronze; and 'Linearilobum Rubrum' bright red.
Cultivation tipsExcept for a few species, maples are generally very hardy. They prefer a deep, well-drained, fertile soil with plenty of humus. For the best autumn tones plant in a sunny position but try to provide good wind protection, at least for young plants and Japanese maples, or the foliage may burn or fall before it has a chance to colour well.
Maples respond well to light winter pruning when young and are best shaped to a fairly round crown on a sturdy trunk. Some, such as Acer palmatum, tend to be fairly shrubby with low forking and these are best left to develop naturally.
Even though the exact autumn shades are difficult to predict and will vary from year to year, you won't go far wrong with maples. They're beautiful enough in any season to forgive them their vagaries.
Did you know?It takes around 43 litres of Acer saccharum sap to produce 1 litre of maple syrup. A good sized sugar maple yields around 50 litres of sap and during the processing into syrup the sugar concentration rises from 2% to 66%. No wonder it's so sweet, but what a flavour!
I am a garden book author and horticultural photographer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. I run a stock photo library called Country, Farm and Garden (http://www.cfgphoto.com). This article may be re-published provided this information is published with it and is clearly visible.
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
University joins regional partners in grant-funded 'Growing Outdoors' project - Western Carolina University News (press release) (blog)
South Africa Safari Top Five National Parks and Game Reserves
A South Africa safari is the ideal wildlife trip to go on because the infrastructure and accommodation is superb in all the wildlife parks there and it is still highly affordable in comparison to other African countries.But given a choice some of the national parks and game reserves are better than others.
Mount Chimborazo: Climbing Glaciers Near The Equator
The climb up the glaciers to the summit of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador isn't considered highly technical. Technically, it is mountaineering, but how hard could it be, considering that I went to 20,600 feet the first time I used crampons and an ice axe? Okay, I had used them once for practice, on a sledding hill near my house.
Experience The Real Florida
Every year around 40 million visitors come to Florida for the sun, sea and attractions. Most visit the world famous theme parks or enjoy the fabulous palm-fringed sandy beaches.
Hiking Shoes Versus Hiking Boots
Hiking shoes versus hiking boots? Hiking shoes win. Okay, next issue? No, really.
Unforgettable Cape Cod Vacations: The National Seashore Gift
Take a captivating trip through the Cape Cod National Seashore with miles of white sandy beaches, trails and hikes to take your breath away, and majestic dunes. Just keep reading and you can visit all those places right now.
Creative Camp Cooking
For most people, outdoor cooking is synonymous with barbeque, but there are many other ways to cook outdoors. If you have been camping, you are probably at least familiar with the portable propane stoves which provide a burner or two similar to the stovetop burners you have at home.
The Wandle Trail - Map and Illustrated Guide
The Wandle offered wonderful trout fishing up to the latter part of the last century. The Wandle Trail was established by the Wandle Group in association with the Wandle Industrial Museum in September 1988, launched with a walk with over 200 participants, led by Colin Saunders.
Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel with an RV
New experiences make me nervous, and I assume that holds true for most of us. Towing our fifth wheel through a major tunnel for the first time was such an experience.
Survival in the Wilderness: What to Do, What You Need
Summer is for picnics, hikes, outdoor concerts, barbeques ..
Disneyland for Hikers: A Walk to Mt. Whitney
Base camp sits at 12,000 feet - stark, windy, unshaded from the blazing August sun, but an otherwise great place to stop for a snack. Voices echo across cold granite as the breeze wraps around dozens of tents, backpacks, cooking stoves, and bear-proof food canisters.
Find Outdoor Camping Gear Online at Great Discount Prices
Before you take off on that great outdoor adventure, be sure to write a list of all of the outdoor camping gear you will need with you and your family when on that camping trip. Some of the most important items to remember to bring are backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and camping furniture to name a few items.
Its an Alien World in Every River
When you look at a river, what do you see? A few flies on top? A fish or two?Look closer.Lay down on your chest at the side of the river and stare down into it.
Is There Such A Thing As A Romantic Camping Getaway In Minnesota?
Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel.com and Bookpleasures.
Bird Watching Life Lists - Keeping A Record
If you're a birder, you want to keep a list of sightings when you bird watch. Your life lists should be kept in a bird watching journal.
Croatia has quickly become Europe's hottest destination, and for good reason. The rocky coastline continues for 1778 kilometres and includes pine-fringed coves, wide sandy beaches and cozy inlets.
The Royal Barge Procession - Splendor on the Chao Phraya River
The Royal Barge Procession in Bangkok, conducted on very rare occasions, is a spectacular royal armada on the Chao Phraya River. This procession is normally conducted on the following occasions: When the King ascends the throne.
Scotland - The New White Water Rafting Capital of Europe
Scotland has taken its place as the new Mecca for white water rafting and extreme sports enthusiasts. With over 120 activity centres around the country you can do it all here - from jumping off cliffs, sliding through canyons and rolling down hills in plastic balls, to more traditional activities such as white water rafting, quad biking and clay pigeon shooting.
Great Indian Holidays
Holidays in India, awesome in her size and diversity. This virtual sub-continent, stretches from the lofty Himalyas , a series of 2000km long mountain ranges in the north, to the extensive deserts in the west, the lush evergreen forest in the south to the far-flung sub Himalayan forests in the North East.
One of the Oldest Traditions of the American West; The Dude Ranch
Dude Ranches first gained popularity in the 1920s, in large part due to the writings of Teddy Roosevelt. Working as a ranch man himself, Roosevelt not only spent time herding cattle, but he also urged Americans to explore for themselves.
African Safari Gear Packing List - What To Take Along
The last thing you want on an African safari is to realise that you have left any important safari gear behind.Because of the nature of safari there are some things that are essential to take with and others that you can do without because they are only going to add to your luggage weight.
|home | site map|