Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
And Other Climbing Plants.
Alan J Hartley
The Field Maple is the
UK’s 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.