Skip to content

Native Alternatives for Maple

Gardeners are natural environmentalists. They discovered the joys of digging into the dirt and watching their gardens convert plain space into places of serenity and nurture prior to activists begat the motions of sustainability and organic gardening. Next time you hanker to plant a cunning small Japanese maple, consider another native plant — there’s one for every backyard kind. These choices but one All are trees.

The Native Plant Rationale

Plants have an evolutionary advantage over non-natives — they have lived in the region for decades, a few for millennia. They have adapted to local climate, soil, precipitation and sunshine intensity over the years. If your place is subject to long stretches of rainy or foggy weather, is arid or suffers drought, the plants gratify them with fertilizer and soil amendments , or that live don’t need you to fuss over them. Even though the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), rugged in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, is fairly, it won’t attract local wildlife such as a tree which has hosted those butterflies and birds for ages.

Choice Maple Trees

Maples’ fame depends in part on their own size. This attribute is shared by two maples. Both are sturdy at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 10. Mountain maple (Acer glabrum) generally grows 10 to 12 feet tall, sports pink flowers in spring and grows best in partial shade. Its rounded leaves turn bright red in the autumn. Bert’s Toy Box box elder (Acer negundo californicum”Bert’s Toy Box”) is a little, well-behaved maple that tolerates clay and seasonal flooding. Box elder spring flowers are yellow, and the 15- to 20-foot tree’s lacy leaves are green.

Exotic Alternatives

If you’re interested in the exotic accent the Japanese maple brings to your landscape, select vine maple (Acer circinatum), rugged only in USDA zones 7 through 8. Multistemmed vines may be trained as trees. Maples have plenty of interest: clusters of pink and white spring flowers, reddish bark, summer foliage with reddish highlights and yellow . Maples need make decent container plants, moist part colour and cool. Catalina cherries (Prunus ilicifolia ssp. Lyonii), hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10, are broadleaf evergreens that make butterfly-attracting white panicles in spring. The cherries attract birds and bees. The trees’ leaves are used as a substitute for Christmas holly.

Panicles and Buckets of Bloom

Two more natives deliver choices for little trees. Flowering ash (Fraxinus dipetala) is associated with both olive and lilac, and its pale white spring flowers have a sweet odor. Remove to reveal its multitrunk construction. Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) may be viewed as a 15-foot shrub. Spectacular purple blossoms precede edible fruit which birds fancy — and autumn colour is deep red to carmine. Western redbud blossoms attract swallowtail butterflies. Both trees are hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10.

See related