southeastern growers

Picture, if you will, a quiet street in Anytown, USA. The milkman is making his rounds, the kids are swinging from a tire, and moms and dads are working in their gardens. The manicured lawns run up to picket fences, and beyond those are sidewalks. Those sidewalks are shaded by the broad leaves of familiar tall trees, each shifting slightly in the breeze. In the fall, those leaves turn bright orange and yellow, before making their descent to the ground. The street feels protected, by both the mutual care of your neighbors but also by the tall sentinels which line the pavement.

This mental picture of tranquility and idyllic suburban life is easy to conjure.

The trees that you are picturing in your head are more than likely trident maples. The trident maple, or Acer buergerianum, is a deciduous medium-sized tree that can grow up to about 30-feet tall. Native to eastern China, the trident maple is generally larger than the closely related amur maple. Its leaves are in three lobes, growing up to 3 ½ inches. When the leaves are young, they have a deep bronze, almost purple color. During summer, they hit a brilliant green before turning into shades of yellow, orange and red in the fall. The spread is essentially equal to their height. As the tree matures, its grayish brownish bark peels and exfoliates.

While the scentless flowers aren’t much to mention, the seeds come from the winged samaras typical for maple trees. The little helicopters that spin to the ground are perhaps the most iconic feature of maple trees, and the trident maple is no exception. The seeds grow in the mirrored pairs of winglets.

The trident maple is an excellent ornamental tree. It is also extremely popular to bonsai enthusiasts, as it responds extremely well to the techniques of that ancient hobby. People have been growing trident maples in miniature for centuries. Here we can see it’s connection to Asia, where the breed has existed long before it was imported to Europe and the Americas.

The trident maple reached the United States in the late 19th century, and has become a fixture of American arboretums, parks and, as we’ve mentioned, quiet streets. It is a very robust tree, allowing it to do well in urban settings.

Here at Southeastern Growers, we prefer the ‘Aeryn’ trident maple. We have young trident maples in several sizes, ready for for transplanting. Come on by to check them out or learn more about them here