Maple tree that won't bother my flower beds

Lizey66October 21, 2013

I need help. I have awful Norway maple trees that unfortunately provide great shade. But they're ruining the rest of my life.
I need to replace them and am thinking about a maple native to Maine. BUT I need to find one whose roots will NOT bother my nearby perennial beds! I know certain native maples can have shallow roots or even ones that buckle a sidewalk. I'm sick of completing with the Norway's horrible root system so want to insure their replacements don't cause me the same horror-it's a scary enough proposition taking down two big trees that shade and shape the front of my 160 year old house. Thanks anyone for the help.

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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

With maples the key point is if they are a large-growing species like Norway maple, red maple or sugar maple or instead a small-growing kind like Amur maple or Japanese maple. The small ones don't come to be so dominating simply because there is not as much of them.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 11:29PM
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Lizey66

Thanks for that, bboy.

BUT I DO want a maple native to Maine and not a small one.

So let me see if I understand what you're saying: That it doesn't matter, in terms of roots extending in to my perennial beds, WHICH large maple I plant. If they are big ones, they will send roots out in to the soil and lawn and beds, like the Norway does. Yes?

Any further ideas to help me?
Thanks a lot.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 12:47PM
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gardengal48

Pretty much ALL maples share a rather surface-oriented root system - the bulk of their roots tend to be just at or below the soil surface and in time, can easily emerge above ground. How aggressive and widespread that root system may be typically depends on the size of the maple - big maple lean towards big, aggressive root systems, smaller maples have smaller, less disruptive root systems.

Since you want large and your native maples tend to be large, you can expect to encounter issues with their roots interfering with your other plantings, if in relatively close proximity. Your alternatives are to select a smaller species of maple or some other tree to provide the size and shade but without the root system issues. fwiw, most oaks tend to become rather large, shade producing trees and are considered one of the easiest large trees to garden under.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Lizey66

Thanks, gardengal48 Leaves me stumped though. (pun unintended). Were I 25 I'd make a certain choice but 40 years down that road, I'm not sure what to do. From what you say, cutting Norway maples, then, becomes an issue of invasive and ugly, not necessarily less garden friendly than a more beautiful maple-though one less invasive. I'm noticing now, though, that the Norways are literally everywhere in my neighborhood, having been either planted to replace the once fabulous elms or seeded themselves, as they have out back near the wetlands. Ugh.
And with this black tar spot plaque they all have now, they are even more ugly since the leaves don't turn color, they just dry, crumple and hang on, dreary and unaesthetically, until they fall. Well, I'll keep thinking. Hmm. There, I've thought! Any views on linden? It was recommended. But I read they get all kinds of problems, not to mention are messy. More thought is in order!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 5:07PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Now all you need to do is find a smaller native deciduous tree from Maine that would suit your needs. Why not try the Northeast Coastal Gardening Forum or the New England Gardening Forum? Both can be found at the link below.
Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: The GardenWeb Forums.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 8:23PM
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gardens1(5b ON)

Not sure what area of ME you're in, so don't know your zone, which would affect your list of possibilities. Red oak is hardy to zone 3, and pin oak is good to 4, both have an average growth rate of close to 2'/yr once established in good conditions, and both have the benefit of beautiful fall colours. We purchased a few young pin oaks this spring, and I am really liking their form and colour, more so than the red oak. Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) is quite tolerant of soil conditions, with beautiful fall colours as well, and some cultivars are faster growing than others. If you wish to look outside the box, bald cypress (taxodium distichum) may work if you are in zone 5, likes moist to wet soils, is very fast growing, and has beautiful, soft, ferny foliage. I don't expect their are many bald cypress in ME! Katsura (cercidiphyllum japonicum) is hardy to zone 4, adaptable, and relatively fast growing though may take some time to become established. It also colours beautifully in fall, though its heart shaped blue green leaves are pretty enough throughout the year, and has an added bonus that when the leaves colour in fall and are warmed a little by the sun, they emit a wonderfully sweet fragrance that has been likened to caramelized brown sugar or cotton candy. Even my young seedling has done this. Have fun in your search, and don't be afraid to get creative!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Lizey66

Thank you all for your suggestions and knowledge. I am re-considering-maybe NOT replacing it for shade purposes and rethinking the whole idea. Maybe just put up ornamentals to frame the house but forget the shade, though it does scare me to think it might look like an exposed mushroom without them OR just be too blasted by the morning sun coming up over the harbor. Having those roots die off and the tree out, though, I hope would change my gardening plans. Trying to solve the way the house looks AND finding a pretty tree with good shade but NOT big roots near the surface that is an enjoyable size before I get too much older, well, it may be a hard nut to crack. Maybe some ornamental pears? Still on the quest. I hope the photo will come through.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 10:48PM
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