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Mother Maple

When we purchased our farm in 1977, one of the first plants my husband gave me was a small 1-gallon, knee-high, Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) that was about as big around as a pencil. This little tree was the first Japanese maple planted at Crooked Trail Farm and set in motion my passion for these beautiful trees.

“Mother Maple” (Acer palmatum) leafed out in her summer dress.

“Mother Maple” (Acer palmatum) leafed out in her summer dress.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2021 HGIC, Clemson University

I now have over 30+ different species and cultivars planted in my landscape. Still, my very favorite tree is my first one that has grown into a 35+ foot tall beauty that I now call “Mother Maple.” Her seedlings have been shared with friends to plant in their gardens. I have even created bonsais from her offspring.

Over 30 different species and cultivars of Japanese Maples are planted in the Crooked Trail Farm landscape.

Over 30 different species and cultivars of Japanese Maples are planted in the Crooked Trail Farm landscape.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2021 HGIC, Clemson University

A bonsai created from some of “Mother Maple’s” seedlings.

A bonsai created from some of “Mother Maple’s” seedlings.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2021 HGIC, Clemson University

Over a span of 45 years, I have carefully tended Mother Maple. She has become a home for a wide variety of bird species and the perfect place to hang hummingbird feeders in the summertime. As a plant collector, I always look for plants that provide shelter or food for birds and insects, and she fills this requirement in spades. When in bloom in the early spring, Mother Maple hums with bee activity. Finches, chickadees, and titmice enjoy eating the winged maple seeds.

Hummingbirds love to perch near feeders hung in “Mother Maple.”

Hummingbirds love to perch near feeders hung in “Mother Maple.”
Barbara H. Smith, ©2021 HGIC, Clemson University

Mother Maple is beautiful in every season. But she shines exceptionally bright as the focal point of my garden, dressed in her stunning red-orange foliage fall colors.

Fall is the time that “Mother Maple” shines with her stunning red-orange foliage.

Fall is the time that “Mother Maple” shines with her stunning red-orange foliage.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2021 HGIC, Clemson University

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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