The hedge maple, or Acer campestre, is also known as the English field maple or simply field maple, and belongs to the genus Acer under the Aceraceae family. This deciduous tree is small to medium in size and originates from Europe and western Asia. The hedge maple grows slowly but can reach approximately 30 to 35 feet (9 to 10 m) in both height and width. It grows well with partial or full sun and prefers well-drained, moist soil. This specie of maple tree is more tolerant of urban soil conditions — such as alkaline soil, dry oil, and compacted soil — compared to other maple tree species.
This specie of maple tree stands upright and normally has low branches. It is suitable for planting in parks, parking lots and streets as well as other areas where shade is desired. This tree requires minimal pruning to keep its lower crown from obstructing people and vehicles because it’s branches tend to stand upright. It usually has plenty of slender branches that offer fine, aesthetic texture to landscapes, specifically during the winter season.
It can be propagated with cuttings of its rooted stem or by seeds and is generally tolerant of pests and diseases. The hedge maple also sprouts tiny green flowers around the first weeks of May. This maple tree’s green, winged fruits are located on each stalk and grow in loosely hanging bunches on the stems. These fruits typically mature and turn brown by October.
The leaves of the hedge maple, which are dark green and yellow to chartreuse during the fall season, are positioned close together along the twigs. They are approximately 3 inches (7.6 cm) in length with their veins sticking away from the leaf’s base in the same way that fingers spread out from the palm of a hand. Each leaf has five rounded lobes, with two lobes located on the leaf’s base being smaller than the three lobes located on the upper part of the leaf. They also excrete a milky, runny sap when the stalk of a leaf is cut or pulled from its stem.
A hedge maple’s trunk and branches are gray to light brown in color and normally have minimal furrows and ridges. The trunk typically cracks and turns light gray once it reaches maturity. Its twigs, on the other hand, are brown with gray buds and can sometimes have a corky texture. This plant was introduced to North America at the beginning of the colonial era.