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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.

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Tree Project.

Acer Maple.

The Field Maple is the UKs only native Maple and is otherwise called Acer Campestre. Growing up to some 20m it is not a small tree and like all Acers has a relatively large canopy. For anyone who has a big field in which to plant a tree the Maple is great for a large range of Wild life. Many Aphids feed on it and those in turn provide food for predators like Ladybirds, Hoverfly and Birds. The leaves of the Field Maple are also food for the caterpillars of several moth species, and the nectar and Pollen of its flowers, attracts bees and birds.
Although the UK has only one species of native Acer, around the World, there are 100s of species and cultivars. They vary in size enormously and many would be far too big for a back garden, but most of the Japanese varieties are smaller with many being small enough to grow in pots or large tubs. Most Acers prefer a slightly acidic, or ericaceous compost and container grown plants may need their roots protected in a hard winter as pots can freeze solid in winter causing root damage. A late spring frost may also damage the tender, emerging, young leaves, as trees start into growth quite early in the season.

Leaves of Acers seem to come in all the colours of the rainbow with colours ranging from dark purples through to coppery reds, golden yellows and even variegated types. Then, in the Autumn, they change colour to give an even more spectacular show.
Acer Palmatum Disectum is one of the more popular varieties here in the UK and as its name suggests the leaves look as though they have had most of the leaf cut away to leave a skeleton of a leaf remaining.
Japanese Maples are slow growing, deciduous trees that are prone to having their leaves scorched by hot, or dry winds. Preferring a little light shade they do not like hot midday sun, but nor do they like water logged soil either. If conditions are too wet they can be prone to root rot, (a fungal disease,) and indeed in poor, or unsuitable conditions they can be susceptible to honey fungus, powdery mildew, Verticillium Wilt and pests such as Aphids, Mites and Scale Insects.
If trees are healthy and in good shape it is not recommended to prune them, but if branches need to be cut, pruning should be done in late summer, or early autumn, to prevent the cuts from bleeding.


 

 

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