Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story


#ARBatwork #ArbMatters #PledgeLessPlastic & 12 Faces of Arb 1987 storm 2 Rope 2018 30 Under 30 3ATC 3ATC UK Open 50th annual AA AA award AA Awards Aboricultural Association Accident accreditation advice AFL aftercare AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alert Alex Kirkley All Party Parliamentary Group on Horticulture amenity Amenity Conference Anatomy Ancient Tree Forum Annual Awards APF APF 2020 app APPGHG application Appointment apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Approved Contractor Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show arb training ArbAC ARBatwork ArbCamp Arbor Day Arboricultural Association Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe Ash Ash Archive ash dieback Asian Hornet Assessments atf ATO Australia Autumn Review award Awards Barcham Trees Bark Beetle Bartlett Bartlett Tree Experts bats beetle beyond ism Bill Matthews biochar biodiversity biomechanical biosecurity Book Prize Book Shop Books Bookshop boundaries branch Branches brand Brexit bs5837 Budgeting Tool bursary business Call for Abrstacts Call for papers Campout Canker stain of plane carbon career Cavanagh CCS Cellular Confinement Cellular Confinement Systems CEnv CEO Ceratocystis Ceratocystis platani chainsaw chalara charity Charles charter Charter for Trees Chartered Environmentalist chelsea Chelsea Flower Show Claus Mattheck climate climate change climber climbing Cofor Colleges committees competition competiton conference Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Continuous Professional Development Contractor Contractors Cornwall Cornwall Branch Coronavirus Coroner Council Countryside Countryside Code Countryside Stewardship Course for beginners COVID-19 CPD cross industry news Crown & Canopy Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary deadwood death debate Debt defra Design Devon Director disease diversity document donate dothistroma downloads draft Dutch elm EAC East Anglia ecology Economic Report economy Ecotricity education EFUF Election elections Electricity Elm yellows Emerald Ash Borer England England Tree Strategy English Elm environment environmental EPF equipment Europe European Arboricultural Council European Forum on Urban Forestry European Wood Pastures Event exeter Exhibitors Fall from Height Fatal Fatality felling Fellow Fellow Members Fera Field Trip Finance Fine firewood First Aid flood flooding for Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests freelancers FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser fungal fungi Future Flora Futurebuild gardening GDPR Geocells Gold Medal Gov.uk government grant grants Green Brexit Green Infrastructure Green Infratructure Guarantee guidance Guidance Note Guidance Note 2 guide guides Hazard Tree Health heart-rot hedges Helliwell Help Henry Girling Henry Kuppen History HMRC HOMED Homeworking Honey Brothers honours Horse Chestnut HortAid horticulture horticulturists HortWeek housing HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE HTA ICF ICoP identification Immigration import industry Industry Code of Practice industry skills Infographic InfraGreen Initiatives Inspiration Insurance Intermediate Tree Inspection International Urban Forestry Congress International Women’s Day International Year of Plant Health Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference Ips typographus Irma irrigation ISA iso i-Tree IUFC IWD21 Job job opportunity judgement JustGiving Karabiner Kew Kit land-based Landsaping Landscape Institute Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor Lectures legal legislation Letters Liability licence London longevity LTOA Magazine manifesto maple Mayor of London MBE Melbourne Member Benefit Membership mentor Midlands moth' motion Myerscough NASA National Geographic National Tree Safety Group National Tree Week NATO Natural England NatureScot Netherlands New Year’s Honours News NHS nominations Northern Northumberland Notice notification NTIS NTOA NTOC NTSG Nurseries oak 'oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree occupation online opm Padua Papua parks parliament Perennial Pests & Diseases Pests and Diseases petition photo Phytophthora planning Planning Law Plant Health planting Plantsman Pledge Plumpton College policy poll Poster Power PPE Preston Twins Prince Charles Prince of Wales processionary Product Recall Professional Members prosecution Protect and Survive protected tree protection Qualifications Quotatis ramorum RC Reg Harris Registered Registered Consultant Registered Consultants Rememberance Day renewal REnvP Report Rescue research Research grant Resilience response results retrenchment review RFS rhs RHS Chelsea Flower Show Ride for Research Ride4Research rigging Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons Royal Forestry Society RSFS Safe Working Practice Safety Safety Bulletin Safety Guides Saftey Sale school Scotland Scotland Branch Scottish Branch SDG Accord security seminars Share Sheffield Show Sierra Leone Site Guidance skills skills survey SocEnv soil soils South East South West SRT SRWP staff Standards statement Stationary Rope Stationary Rope Technique statutory STIHL strategy student Student Book Prize Student Conference Study Trip Sub-contractors Supporter survey Sustainable Soils Alliance Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight symposium T Level T Levels Tatarian maple TDAG technical guide Technical Guides Technical Officers Technical Team Technician Members Technology Ted Green tender Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Thinking Arbs Day Timbersports Tony Kirkham Tools top-handled chainsaws,Elcoat, TPBE4 TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Care Tree Champion Tree Council Tree Fayre Tree Health Tree Health Week Tree Inspection tree loss tree management Tree of the year Tree Officer Tree officers tree planning Tree Planting Tree Protection tree register tree species Tree Supply Tree Surgeon Tree Surgeons Tree Week Tree Work at Height Tree Workers Zone Treeconomics tree-felling TreeRadar trees trees' Trees & Society Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' trustee Trustees TrustMark Two Rope two-rope UAG Uitlity UK favourite ukas UKWAS urban urban forest Urban Forestry Urban Tree Challenge Fund Urban Tree Cover Urban Tree World Cup urban trees Utility Arboriculture Group UTWC vacancy VETcert veteran trees video Videos Virtual ARB Show volunteer voting VTA WAC Wales Warning Watering watering solutions Webinar webinars website Western Westonbirt Wharton White Paper WIA Witley Women Women in Arb women in arboriculture woodland Woodland Carbon Code Woodland Carbon Guarantee woodland trust woods Workshops World Environment Day Xylella young young arborists Young People’s Breakfast Event zoo

The Plantsman’s Choice: Tatarian maple

Author:  Henrik Sjöman & Andrew Hirons
Last Updated:  02/09/2019

A tough tree that wins in the long run

Tatarian Maple

In the search for the toughest trees capable of doing well in the most challenging planting environments, the Tatarian maple, Acer tataricum, is one of the most promising. It has demonstrated an impressive tolerance for warm and dry conditions in its native range as well as in cultivation. In addition, it is a reasonably cold hardy, slightly smaller tree that can even grow in dry shade.

The Tatarian (or Russian) maple grows wild in central and south-eastern Europe – from Austria in the west to the Caucasus and Central Asia in the east. Its preferred habitat is as part of the understorey in warm and dry forest systems. For example, the Tatarian maple is the most common species in the understorey of steppe forests in eastern Romania and Moldova. Here it grows along with several other very dry-tolerant and heat-resistant tree species such as Quercus frainetto, Q. pubescens, Q. cerris, Prunus mahaleb and Tilia tomentosa. In these forest systems, the species develops a multi-stemmed growth mode and can be up to 10m high.

In cultivation, the Tatarian maple develops into a large shrub or small tree, usually multi-stemmed with a wide vase-shaped habit, 7–8m high. The leaves are 5–10cm long and broadly egg-shaped. They have no, or only shallow, lobes. This feature distinguishes it from the closely related pseudonym the Amur maple (Acer tataricum subsp. ginnala) which is distinctive because of its extended mid-lobe. The ginnala maple’s beautiful leaves and, above all, its fantastic autumn colours have made it very popular among plant enthusiasts and garden designers, while the more robust Tatarian maple with less spectacular leaves and more ordinary yellow hues in autumn is less popular.

Why should Tatarian maple be used? Well firstly, its very high tolerance of hot and dry environments is highly advantageous for warm, inner-city sites and other challenging places such as shaded courtyards, exposed roof gardens or other urban situations where the space for large trees is limited.

The Tatarian maple usually develops into a larger shrub or smaller shrub tree, usually multi-stemmed with a broad, vase-like habit.

The Tatarian maple usually develops into a larger shrub or smaller shrub tree, usually multi-stemmed with a broad, vase-like habit.

A nice detail of the Tatarian maple in late summer is the brilliant red fruits against the green foliage.

A nice detail of the Tatarian maple in late summer is the brilliant red fruits against the green foliage.

Autumn colours on Tatarian maple.

Autumn colours on Tatarian maple.

The Tatarian maple along with Quercus pubescens in eastern Romania.

The Tatarian maple originates from really hot and dry steppe forests, an environment which has developed its tolerance for these conditions even in cultivation. This picture shows the Tatarian maple along with Quercus pubescens in eastern Romania.

Secondly, the Tatarian maple is a tree that only becomes more beautiful every year. Young Tatarian maples do not do much to advocate the species’ use, but as they mature, the sparse, stiff, architectural branches beautifully express a life hard-fought. A way to get past its awkward youth is to use larger plant sizes in your planting project. To get hold of larger trees you should specify growing contracts with your preferred nursery in good time to allow for sourcing and growing – the more time you can give the nursery the better.

The Tatarian maple was considerably more common in public environments several decades ago, but has since been less favoured in new plantings, often because it has been replaced by more ‘eye-catching’ species which offer fleeting beauty but not the same robust tolerance to heat and drought.

The samara fruit of the Tatarian maple can also be very attractive with large amounts of red seeds that contrast well with the fresh green leaves during high summer.

Henrik Sjöman

Henrik Sjöman is a Lecturer at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and a Scientific Curator at the Gothenburg Botanic Garden, Sweden.

Andrew Hirons

Andrew Hirons is a Senior Lecturer in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry at University Centre Myerscough.

This article was taken form Issue 186 Autumn 2019 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.