2021 Plant Sale Focus
SPECIAL TREES PART 1
If you have a woodland garden and are looking for a unique small tree that has nice fall colors and can take shade – have we got the perfect couple for you! These two gems are native to NY State and are found mostly in the cool dense forests of the higher elevations. While they thrive in the Adirondacks, they will grow in our area so long as you offer them the right conditions.
Moosewood is more commonly known as Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum) and is native from Canada, west to Ohio and south to Pennsylvania and New Jersey and in the Appalachian Mountain region. It is also called Goosefoot Maple because the leaf resembles the foot of a goose. The name moosewood is derived from the fact that moose will consume its bark in winter but the best feature of this tree is the white stripes on its green bark when young (thus the name, striped maple), which make this tree quite unique and attractive. In autumn the leaves turn a bright yellow. It is not an important economic tree and it is said that Native Americans used the wood to make arrows and the bark for medicinal purposes.
This maple must-have shade or some filtered sun, well drained soils, and located in the coolest parts of your landscape. It is an understory tree (plants growing under dominant forest trees) and it will do well under pines and hemlocks with a good mulch. It is a slow grower and will get about 15 to 20 feet tall in this region (but that will take a long time). While we don’t have to worry about moose around these parts, we do have deer and they will attack this tree. You must protect it year-round from them. Birds and small mammals will eat the seed this tree produces.
The Mountain Maple (Acer spicatum) is another small understory tree and sometimes considered a large shrub. It is also a slow grower and will mature at approximately 15 feet tall in this area. It is found in the mountain regions of NY State and also grows in well-drained soils in part shade with some sun conditions. Also, place it in the cooler parts of your woodland garden. The leaves are somewhat similar to moosewood but the bark is reddish-brown. The fall colors vary from yellow to orange to red and make this small tree quite showy in your woodland garden in autumn. This tree must also be protected from browsing deer.
You will not find these trees at your local garden centers because they are not really commercially grown and easy to find. But we will have them in limited quantity and very affordable for our plant sale this year.