Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Choosing the Right Maple Tree Species

A red maple in spring
Maple trees are a wildly popular and prolific species, treasured by sightseers and nature enthusiasts everywhere. Those who grew up in the Midwest can remember the fun seed pods that turn into “helicopters” when thrown into the air - just one of the few free pleasures left to youth. But not every maple is created equal; the decision of which maple species to plant at home takes time and research to make.

Unique Maple Benefits

Depending on the desired location and traits, some maples serve several purposes quite well. Striped maple or moosewood stands up to shade well, growing only up to about 33 tall – making this the perfect species of tree to grow under power lines in certain cases with careful tree maintenance. Red maples make a great ornamental tree, especially as the blazing fall colors begin to develop. These native beauties can grow up to 75 feet tall and provide ample shade.

Avoid Undesirable Traits

Sometimes it can be difficult to spot the weakness of a tree for all the benefits and beauty the same species may contain. For example, the striped maple species mentioned above has plenty of distinguishing features: one of which is soft bark that can buckle under ice or strain. While this may be fine in temperate climates, it certainly will not do well in others. The Norway maple is one species that should be avoided in many areas despite the good traits: these maples are one of many invasive species that are difficult to contain once planted!

How can a landowner ensure they are planting a beneficial species of maple tree, instead of one that could be potentially harmful? Consulting with a certified arborist or tree service professional can take some of the guesswork out of tree planting – and the effort may save precious time and money in the future!

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