A beautiful native tree, Acer campestre is not just from the British Isles but is distributed all over Northern Europe, even to Western Asia. It is deciduous and classified as a small to medium size tree, with very unusual bark. The bright yellow autumn leaves give a splash of colour before falling to the ground.
It is a great native tree to grow in the garden as it does not grow too large and responds very well to pruning. At our tree nursery here in Devon, we grow Acer campestre as a multi-stem with raised canopies. We take special care to prune them on a regular basis to create beautiful, umbrella shaped canopies. The idea being that you can comfortably sit or even stand under them for some shade or for underplanting.
Acer campestre, as well as Carpinus betulus, are great trees to use for screening as they have nice dense and even canopies most of the year. In the winter the crossing branches still provide an element of screening, but still let light through. These are very hardy trees and will tolerate most soil and environmental conditions. They seem to cope well with the hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. This makes them a great choice for the changing climate.
Flowers: Small greenish-yellow corymbs
Fruit: Typical winged shaped seeds
Bark: Very unusual, almost cork like
Leaves: Deciduous, five lobed, dark green
Autumn colour: Bright yellow
Ultimate height: 14m
Uses: Very easy tree to grow, makes a very good shade tree with very neat canopy