What: You can’t walk by this tree without noticing the chestnut-brown peeling bark. Attractive year-round, Acer griseum’s warm, rich bark makes an especially welcome contribution to our winter gardens. The dark summer green leaves change to shades of pumpkin orange and brick red on trees growing in full sun, buttery gold with an apricot flush on trees in part shade. Also known as paperbark maple, this tree is a great tree for the small garden.
Where: Paperbark maple is one of the few trees that will develop good fall color in dappled and deep shade, as well as full sun. In shade, the colors will be softer apricots and butter yellows. It will tolerate a wide range of soils, including compacted urban sites, sand and clay. Avoid locations where water puddles and does not drain away.
Size: This tree grows to be 30 feet tall with a spread of 25 feet wide when mature.
Care: Paperbark maple is drought tolerant once established, but appreciates occasional water during very long dry spells. Very little pruning is needed to maintain a beautiful specimen; only remove poorly developed branches, dead wood or broken limbs.
— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks