A Real Focal Point
The Harlequin Maple is very decorative tree with it’s bright white and green variegated leaves.
Used an accent tree in a group of green leafed trees or as a single specimen in your front yard. It is one of many mutations of the regular Norway Maple Acer platanoides
and as such is always grown as a grafted specimen. It would not come true from seed if it in fact produced any seed. Mine never has although the species Norway Maple is quite a prolific seed producer.
What Grows Under It? It has a very dense round headed shape and casts a deep shade underneath making it difficult to grow any understory plants. I have considerable success with Tulip and Narcissus bulbs as they are able to bloom and regenerate their bulbs before the tree leafs out and cuts off the necessary light. I am currently trying Hosta under mine to see if they will thrive there.
Maintenance? The Harlequin Maple does require a little yearly maintenance. It will frequently revert and throw out a fully green set of leaves. These will develop quickly into branches. Having considerable more chlorophyll than the variegated leaves these branches will outgrow the desired ones and quickly become the larger part of the tree.(picture below) Each of these green branches starts out as small shoot of leaves and it takes only a few minutes each spring to inspect the inside of the tree and remove the green bits. As the tree grows you may need a pole pruner or your climbing shoes to remove these.
Size and Shape? This tree is eminently pruneable and I attack mine each autumn to keep it in scale with the rest of my front garden. Left alone it will not get that big, it’s just that I don’t want to surrender that much of my front gardens to becoming a shade garden. The hour or so of pruning is well worth it for the visual impact that this tree has in my yard.
Pay a little more for the beauty of the Harlequin Maple and spend the half hour each spring keeping it all variegated and you will be well rewarded for your efforts.
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