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Trident MapleAcer buergerianum

  • Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra

Suitable for patios, planters, small yards or streetside locations, the trident maple is viewed by some tree experts as an underused tree. It provides year-round interest and tolerates a wide range of soils and urban conditions—making it a very desirable tree.

This maple is very popular with bonsai hobbyists because of its unique leaves, readily-thickening trunk and gnarled roots that readily curl around rocks.

Hardiness Zones

The trident maple can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–8. View Map

Tree Type

This is a shade tree, featuring a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight.

Mature Size

The trident maple grows to a height of 20–35' and a spread of 20–30' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow to Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12" to 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The trident maple grows in acidic, well-drained soil.

Attributes

This tree:
  • Features distinctive, 3-lobed leaves that are 2–4" long and dark green in color.
  • Provides yellow, orange and red fall color in late October and early November.
  • Produces small yellowish-green flowers in flat-topped or umbrella-shaped clusters in April–May.
  • Transplants readily.
  • Yields pairs of winged seed about ¾–1" long that persist into autumn.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.
  • Works well as a small patio, lawn or street tree and is often used in bonsai.
  • Tends to grow as a multi-stemmed, low-branching specimen unless trained to a single stem.
  • Tolerates many urban conditions.

Wildlife Value

This maple’s seeds are not particularly attractive to birds.

History/Lore

Though native to China and Japan, the trident maple’s scientific name honors German botanist Heinrich Buerger. He was hired by the Dutch in the mid-1800s to study the flora and fauna of Japan.