5 Overlooked / Underutilized Maples

This article is presented in partnership with Rost Landscaping. 

When it comes time to think about which trees you are going to use for your upcoming landscape project, you may be surprised at how many options are out there.  Even within the maple tree category, there are multiple options.  Red maples are by far the most popular type of maple we see being used, but there are numerous lesser-known maple varieties than can add interest and fill different niches in the landscape.  Utilizing these other varieties can give your landscape that little touch of something unique to help set it apart from every other house.  

Photo courtesy of Rost Landscaping

1. Amur Maple

This is a great choice if you want to incorporate a maple in a smaller area as this variety only gets around 15’-20’ tall and wide.  Amur maples have a sprawling habit and come in single stem or multi-stem varieties making them a versatile option.  Incorporating both single and multi-stem trees into a landscape adds a lot of interest, so this tree gives you lots of options.  This is a faster-growing variety, so you won’t have to wait too long for it to mature.  Learn more.

Photo courtesy of Rost Landscaping

2. Paperbark Maple

Prized by plant lovers for its unique bark and structure, this maple has papery bark that peels to reveal a cinnamon-brown bark underneath. It is another smaller variety of maple only reaching to approximately 20’ tall and wide.  This maple can take sun or part shade.  Because of this, it can easily be incorporated into most gardens as a focal point.  Like other maples, the Paperbark will have a nice fall color.  Learn more.


Photo courtesy of Rost Landscaping

3. Trident Maple:

Named after its trident-shaped leaf, this is another variety of maple that works well in smaller areas.  It is very low maintenance and will rarely if ever, require pruning.  They are typically taller than they are wide and reach around 25’-30’ tall by 20’-25’ wide.  Trident maple leaves will turn to shades of yellow and orange in fall.  Learn more.

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4. Snakebark Maple

This is a very unique variety of maple that most would not even recognize as being a maple at first glance.  The bark on a snake bark maple is highly striped with shades of green and white adding interest even in winter when other plants have dropped their leaves.  This vase-shaped maple reaches around 25’ tall and wide and can take a lot of shade filling a niche that most other maples cannot.  Learn more.

Photo courtesy of Rost Landscaping

5. Three Flowered Maple

This is a great selection for a focal point or specimen planting.  Reaching around 25’ tall and wide this maple really shines in fall with colors of yellow/orange.  They can take some shade and it is one of the few trees to dependably develop good fall color when planted in shadier spots, although it will be less showy than it would be if planted in a sunny exposure. Learn more.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when considering maples or other plants for your garden.  Talking to the staff at Superior Garden Center or hiring a qualified designer is a great way to get guidance on your plant selections.  Learn more at RostLandscaping.com.