Field Maple seeds have a deep dormancy within them, this requires a degree of patience to overcome and it is usually quite easy to get high levels of germination if the correct procedures are followed.
First prepare a free draining substrate into which the seeds are to be mixed, this can be a 50/50 mixture of compost and sharp sand, or perlite, vermiculite or even just pure sharp sand has worked well for me. The chosen substrate needs to be moist (but not wet), if you can squeeze water out of it with your hand it is too wet and your seeds may drown and die.
Mix the seeds into the substrate, making sure that their is enough volume of material to keep the seeds separated. Place the seed mixture into a clear plastic bag (freezer bags, especially zip-lock bags are very useful for this -provided a little gap is left in the seal for air exchange) If it is not a zip-lock type bag it needs to be loosely tied.
Write the date on the bag so that you know when the pre-treatment was started.
The seeds first require a period of warm pre-treatment and need to be kept in temperatures of 20 Celsius (68F) for a period of at least 8 weeks . During this time make sure that the pre-treatment medium does not dry out at any stage or it will be ineffective!
Next the seeds require a cold period to break the final part of the dormancy, this is easily achieved by placing the bag in the fridge (4 Celsius or 39F) for 24 weeks. It is quite possible for the seeds to germinate in the bag at these temperatures when they are ready to do so, if they do, just remove them from the bag and carefully plant them up. Seeds that are ready to germinate will have become plump and soft. For small quantities I tend to just leave the seeds in the fridge and remove the germinated ones as they arise and plant them up. I find that this way you can get the maximum number to germinate. After a few months any remaining ungerminated seeds can have the whole warm and cold process repeated again- several times if necessary.
For larger quantities it is easiest to sow the seeds in a well prepared seedbed once the warm and cold pre-treatments have finished and wait for the seeds to germinate. Seeds that are ready to germinate will be plump and soft, if they are not, the pre-treatment is not yet complete or has been ineffective due to incorrect temperatures or incorrect moisture content of the pre-treatment medium.
It has also been found that fluctuating pre-treatment temperatures can give the best germination results and I have myself had excellent results by keeping the mixed seeds in a cold shed through the winter for the cold stage of their pre-treatment and allowing the temperature to fluctuate naturally.
Do not expose newly sown seeds to high temperatures (above 25 Celsius) otherwise a secondary dormancy may be induced and the seeds will not germinate until they have been pre-treated again. Germinated seeds can be planted in deep pots or plug trays in a good quality compost. Keep the seedlings well watered and weed free.
Growth in the first year is usually between 20 and 50 cm and usually trouble free. Allow them to grow for 1 or 2 years before planting them in a permanent position.
- Field Maple
- Field Maple (Acer campestre)
- Hedge maple (Not recommended)
- Tree & Plant Care
- Disease, pests, and problems
- Disease, pest, and problem resistance
- Native geographic location and habitat
- Bark color and texture
- Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
- Flower arrangement, shape, and size
- Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
- Cultivars and their differences
Field Maple (Acer campestre)
Field Maple is a medium sized but fast growing tree, often found in hedgerows and mixed woodland (we include Field Maple in our mixed native woodland collections.) They’re good hedge plants and lay easily, standing out in a hedgerow in the autumn when, as you would expect from an Acer, their leaves put on a lovely show. They turn bright yellow, then a mellow orange brown. In spring Field Maple has small yellow flowers, succeeded by red fruit.
Maple wood, tough and fine grained, has been used for centuries for high quality items. It was used by the Saxons for harps, and in the Middle Ages for ornamental drinking bowls called mazers. You can make maple syrup from its sap. I haven’t tried.
Value For Wildlife
Field maples are pollinated by insects, and their flowers are attractive nectar sources for bees. Several moth larvae eat its foliage, including the endearingly named small yellow wave. Its leaves are also said to attract aphids (are there many that don’t?!), and thence aphid predators, including hoverflies.
Plants For Sale
Provenance certificates are available on request for Field Maple trees, which are from the Southwest of England.
Field Maple Smaller Sizes Suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery, British Hardwood Tree Nursery
Your purchase helps us support a range of charities, which are related to the products we sell.
Please note that standard sizes relate to tree girths in cm. See our size guide for details and tips on planting. These Field Maples are bare root, and are consequently available for delivery from November until March. During the lifting season there may be up to two weeks delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders for Field Maple placed between March and September are confirmed in October ready for dispatch from November.
Hedge maple (Not recommended)
Tree & Plant Care
Avoid pruning in early spring as maples are ‘bleeders’ and will lose large amounts of sap.
Disease, pests, and problems
Verticillium wilt (fungus) is a potential problem for maples.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of compaction, salt and air pollution.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Europe and Africa.
Bark color and texture
Bark is dark gray to gray-black and is lightly ridged and furrowed.
Hedge maple (Acer campestre) photo: John Hagstrom
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple leaves in pairs (opposite); 2 to 4 inches long.
Leaves dark green and lobed.
Fall color is mild yellow to yellow-green.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Flowers green and in clusters; fairly inconspicuous.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras); wings spread at a 180 degree angle from one another.
Cultivars and their differences
Metro Gold® hedge maple (Acer campestre ‘Panacek’): This cultivar has a narrow, oval habit and yellow fall color. Grows 35 feet high and 20 feet wide.
Royal Ruby hedge maple (Acer campestre ‘Royal Ruby’): New foliage emerges ruby red and then changes to dark green in summer.
Maple, (Acer), any of a large genus (about 200 species) of shrubs or trees in the family Sapindaceae, widely distributed in the North Temperate Zone but concentrated in China. Maples constitute one of the most important groups of ornamentals for planting in lawns, along streets, and in parks. They offer a great variety of form, size, and foliage; many display striking autumn colour. Several yield maple syrup, and some provide valuable, dense hard wood for furniture and other uses. All maples bear pairs of winged seeds, called samaras or keys. The leaves are arranged oppositely on twigs. Many maples have lobed leaves, but a few have leaves separated into leaflets.
Among the popular smaller maples the hedge, or field, maple (A. campestre) and Amur, or ginnala, maple (A. ginnala) are useful in screens or hedges; both have spectacular foliage in fall, the former yellow and the latter pink to scarlet. The Japanese maple (A. palmatum), developed over centuries of breeding, provides numerous attractive cultivated varieties with varying leaf shapes and colours, many useful in small gardens. The vine maple (A. circinatum), of wide-spreading, shrubby habit, has purple and white spring flowers and brilliant fall foliage. The shrubby Siebold maple (A. sieboldianum) has seven- to nine-lobed leaves that turn red in fall.
Medium-sized maples, often more than 9 metres (30 feet) tall, include the big-toothed maple (A. grandidentatum); some believe it to be a subspecies of sugar maple, a Rocky Mountain tree, often multistemmed, displaying pink to red fall foliage. Coliseum maple (A. cappadocicum) and Miyabe maple (A. miyabei) provide golden-yellow fall colour. The three-flowered maple (A. triflorum) and the paperbark maple (A. griseum) have tripartite leaves and attractive peeling bark, in the former tannish and in the latter copper brown.
The ash-leaved maple, or box elder, is a fast-growing tree of limited landscape use. The Norway maple (A. platanoides), a handsome, dense, round-headed tree, has spectacular greenish-yellow flower clusters in early spring; many cultivated varieties are available with unusual leaf colour (red, maroon, bronze, or purple) and growth form (columnar, globular, or pyramidal).
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Large maples, usually in excess of 30 metres high, that are much planted for shade include the sugar (A. saccharum), silver (A. saccharinum), and red (A. rubrum) maples. The Oregon, or bigleaf, maple (A. macrophyllum) provides commercially valuable wood darker than that of other maples; it shows bright-orange fall foliage. The Sycamore maple (A. pseudoplatanus), an important shade and timber tree in Europe, has many ornamental varieties.
In one group of maples, the vertically striped silvery-white young bark provides an attractive winter landscaping feature. These trees are the striped maple (A. pennsylvanicum), the red snake-bark maple (A. capillipes), the Her’s maple (A. hersii), and the David’s maple (A. davidii). The chalk maple, with whitish bark, is sometimes classified as A. leucoderme, although some authorities consider it a subspecies of sugar maple.
The parlour maples, or flowering maples, are bedding and houseplants in the genus Abutilon.