Often times we are called out to a home to give an estimate for removing a tree that was planted too near a house and has over-grown its location. It's hard to imagine when you plant that little river birch sapling that someday soon it may be up to 70 feet tall with up to a 60 foot spread. Its branches may be touching your house, dropping leaves in your gutter, destroying your foundation, growing into utility wires, attracting termites or causing mold or mildew on your siding.
However, the right tree in the right location can add beauty to the home and provide shade, thereby reduce cooling costs. Did you know that as little as three trees planted around your home can reduce cooling costs by as much as half?
The paperbark maple is not native to North America, but was brought here a little over 100 years ago from central China. It is somewhat difficult to propagate so it is not as common in nurseries and may be slightly more expensive that other more common trees. However, we believe its worth the little extra effort to obtain this true "specimen" tree for your landscape. Ask your local nursery if they can obtain it for you and plant it where it can be viewed throughout the season, near a deck or patio.
This month's featured tree, the Acer griseum or paperbark maple, is a slow-growing and long-living tree that grows to a height of only 20-30 feet with a 15-25 feet spread. It is hardy and easy to care for. Paperbark maples prefer moist, well-drained soils, but will grow in clay, sand and loam. They are relatively insect and disease free and will grown in partial shade to full sun. They require little, to no pruning and are sturdy and resistant to breakage.
Not only are they easy to care for, but their beauty and uniqueness will add that extra something to your landscape. The paperbark maple has copper, orange to reddish-brown exfoliating bark that gets darker with age. Bark peels in curly, translucent, papery strips that remain attached to the trunk and branches until naturally worn away. So even in the winter when you are not enjoying its shade giving, delicate green leaves you will marvel at its striking bark against a snowy backdrop.
We truly hope that the paperbark maple will be a tree that is more often considered by home owners and landscapers