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Maple trees lining driveway

Posted by judysgardens 7 (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 12:06

I am getting ready to move into a new custom home in Sammamish, WA and we have a long curved driveway. I plan on putting maple trees along both sides about 20' apart to give a beautiful look in the fall with the colored leaves. I am not sure which variety to pick. I want the fall color to be the bright red-orange color. I want all the trees to be the same for a uniform look. I have looked on many websites and they say different things about each variety. I think the ones I'm looking for are either the Red Sunset or the Autumn Blaze. At first I thought the October Glory was the right color, but many of the websites say this tree has a red-purple fall color. I do not want the red-purple or a dark red. I'm looking for that bright orange-red vibrant color. I would appreciate anyone's experience and knowledge with maple trees.
Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

I was just looking at maple trees again and I saw one called Sun Valley. This one also looked like it has beautiful bright red-orange fall color. Does anyone have this variety?


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 13:41

You are naming large growing trees that will grow together and develop a hedge-like appearance at only a 20' spacing. If you want trees only 20' wide you will have to plant either smaller-growing types such as Japanese maples or narrow-growing cultivars such as the more narrow and upright forms of Freeman maples that are all over the place here in commercial and institutional settings. But even these last are large-growing trees that will eventually overwhelm many of the small or narrow planting spots they are being placed in with their roots and trunks.

And they produce a tense effect with their pointy looking crowns.

I suggest you walk around local labeled collections such as the Seattle Botanic Gardens where you can see planted trees and walk up to ones that catch your interest, see what kind of visual character (and physical presence) they have in person.

*Note link after unintentional duplicate post below*

This post was edited by bboy on Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 13:46


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 13:43

You are naming large growing trees that will grow together and develop a hedge-like appearance at only a 20' spacing. If you want trees only 20' wide you will have to plant either smaller-growing types such as Japanese maples or narrow-growing cultivars such as the more narrow and upright forms of Freeman maples that are all over the place here in commercial and institutional settings. But even these last are large-growing trees that will eventually overwhelm many of the small or narrow planting spots they are being placed in with their roots and trunks.

And they produce a tense effect with their pointy looking crowns.

I suggest you walk around local labeled collections such as the Seattle Botanic Gardens where you can see planted trees and walk up to ones that catch your interest, see what kind of visual character (and physical presence) they have in person.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seattle Tree Guidebook and Seattle Tree Map


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Thanks for the info bboy. The property is in a wooded area and we have 2 1/2 acres. The house sits back off the street and we are also looking for these trees providing additional privacy. I really don't want the smaller Japanese Maples for this spot, although I love Japanese maples and plan to have them other places on my landscaped property. Even though the eventual growth of the Red Sunset or Sun Valley maple is about 40' x 30', it will take a long time to get to that size. Also, I'm not opposed to pruning them when they get so large that they are growing into each other.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

My advice would be to first focus on what would work in your climate, soil, sun exposure, and watering regimen. Pick the fall color that you prefer afterwards. You don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on trees that won't grow in your area.

This post was edited by OregonGrape on Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 20:29


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Please consider that "Maple trees lining driveway" are a lot of work. This I know from experience. Make sure you enjoy raking and have plenty of space to discard or compost the pretty leaves ;)


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Oregongrape - I totally agree. The only maple trees I'm looking at are ones that are common in the PNW which, of course, you know is a unique climate. Also, I have a very extensive irrigation system that will provide the right amount of water during each season. Thanks

Sasafras - Oh yeah, I know. The house is located on a 2 1/2 acre lot with lots of wooded area around it in the front and back. I'm sure we'll be investing in a leaf blower as we currently don't own one. :)


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 2:08

40' x 30' is much smaller than these will get - they are full-sized trees, and the spread is not going to be smaller than the height unless you plant abnormally narrow types. And red maples, silver maples and the common hybrid between them (Freeman maple) are not slow-growing trees - it will not take them that long to get 40' tall. You will also get a lot more bang for the buck if you look for additional significant attributes besides just red fall color - colorful bark or at least twigs, for instance. Deciduous trees that have conspicuous stem color in winter have so much more value and interest than those that are merely grayish or brown out of leaf, with little or no bark texture - the "mall maples" you have been talking about are one of the most ubiquitous examples of this here.

If you were instead to plant something like paperbark maple, for instance, the planting would be far more memorable and effective. And the trees would not be so likely to overwhelm the space - you definitely do not want to be whacking a landmark tree planting back in order to contain it within an inadequate space - that does not work out at all, you will destroy the beauty and therefore usefulness of the trees.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

While bboy is right, be very careful what kind of look you want... I personally have always liked the looks of the tree lined drive, with the tunnel effect of the trees knitting together overhead as they age. Especially on a wooded property, there is something very calming to me in that shady wooded drive. I personally would be more inclined to use native trees for this, but if its the fall color you are looking for, and you want it consistent, then those you mention are certainly decent enough options.

However, I wholeheartedly agree with bboy about picking trees with more season of interest than just one. Yes, the fall show will be spectacular, but the rest of the year those maples are just ordinary maples. Nothing special. Paperbark maples are beautiful year round, hardy unless you are at very high altitudes around here, and generally easy to care for. They do get fairly large. If you want something smaller some of the "stripe" or "snakebark" maples are also interesting with their variously striped trunks. I'd be inclined to check these out and see if your ok with the fall color. In smaller maples, the coralbark Japanese maple is only one example of a small maple with colorful bark. There is the 'Forest Fire' variety of Vine maple with more red color to the twigs, and generally more color in the mature bark as well, particularly if grown in sun, and many of the straight forms of one of our other native maples, Acer glabrum var. douglasii also have bright red winter twigs, at least the newer growth. My experience with fall color on these is it is variable with the weather and sun exposure the trees get, but some are, as the Rocky Mountain variety get, brilliant shades of orange red.

I would also be inclined to check out other groups. Some of the dogwoods, for instance, have spectacular fall color, and will flower. I personally like the native Cornus nuttallii, but I know others here will say its not suitable for gardens. I disagree, but there it is. It can be very difficult to find and get established, but worth it once it is going. As a bonus, it will flower in both the spring and the fall when happy. The hybrid 'Eddie's White Wonder' is easier and has most of the best qualities of the native species, and is a little easier to find. These grow fairly quickly as well, lean toward being mostly upright rather than spreading, and will tend to give you a quick tree from relatively small stock. Fall color on these is as good as any tree of any size, but more variable in each leaf than the maples. They can be quite stunning, both as an overall image and looking at the individual leaves close up.

Stewartia species might also be really good for what you are looking for, neat tidy trees known for their spectacular bark and bright fall color. Some also have really nice flowers as well, for multiple seasons of interest. I like their branching structure as well, which in winter is a big plus, especially if you are going to have that many of them.

Another group that is often overlooked for fall color are the crabapples and the American hawthorns. Often these have brilliant fall color displays, plus they have the pretty spring flowers and usually red to orange berries. Most don't get too big, and especially among the crabs, there are some slower growing ones like the native Malus fusca that won't overgrow your space very quickly. For fall color though, I suspect you will like the hybrid Washington hawthorns the best.

Sorry to offer other suggestions if you have your heart set on a maple, nothing wrong with that but there are other options that will give you nice fall color, and more interest in other seasons.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 21:14

Washington hawthorn is a species, of course.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Greenmann - Thanks for all of the suggestions and I plan to keep a copy of this chain handy for yours and bboy's lists of other trees. As I said, I have 2 1/2 acres, of course, not all of it will be landscaped and much of it is either sensitive or wetlands, but I have plenty of open cleared areas to plant conifers, and other flowering and fall color trees, which I plan to do. I do have my heart set on the lining the driveway with the maples to create the tunnel look. I will plant smaller evergreen shrubs intermittently as well to add interest in the winter. There is a lot of open space in the front of the house to plant smaller trees like Japanese maples, vine maples, and flowering dogwoods, even a weeping flowering cherry, which I plan to do.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Don't block off the winter sun if you can help it. What little we have is very precious.
Some of those weeping flowering cherries have some branch die back problems. They also suffer from bad pruning and planted where they don't have enough room to expand to their potential.
Most I see are planted in too tight quarters.
I have plenty of room and wouldn't have one.
Mike


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 2:16

People buy them on impulse and then cut the weeping branches back to stubs, due to the savannah biological legacy that thinks all trees should look like parasol acacias.

And they should be sticking out of short grass that comes right up to the trunks.

If you don't keep it cut low, lions might be able to hide in it.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

the straight japanese maple, acer palmatum, would be a good choice. grows to a nice medium size. has intense fall color. nice bark etc. a very underplanted tree in my opinion. usually seen as a rootstock reversion.

paperbark maple also has incredible fall foliage.

TOTALLY WRONG TRACK: but Laburnum is a great drive tunnel tree.

for a bigger tree, black tupelo is tough, needs no irrigation after a few years and has intense red foliage in the fall. less flower/seed clean up than maple.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

I have a lot of the straight Japanese Maples planted in a less formal style. I'm not a fan of formality when it comes to landscape design, but that's just me. Either approach has it's attributes.
Here's part of my driveway last Fall.
Mike
Driveway photo 005.jpg


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Unless you have deep pockets to buy very mature trees I totally disagree with people saying buy Japanese Maples for what you want. Some varieties will EVENTUALLY get pretty big but that's many years of wait. I've been growing a lot of different varieties of Japanese Maples for 9 years.

I actually think Stewartia is a very good alternate choice. I have 4 of these growing, faster growth rate than Japanese Maples but tend to stay more narrow than regular maples would work well for your setup yet get pretty tall and gorgeous bright orange/bronze fall color (speaking from experience).

For regular maples October Glory is well known for having the most consistent fall color even in warmer falls. I have a several different maples on my property and I totally agree. I have one Autumn Blaze that has gotten huge and has great bright red fall color but two more that vary from year to year with their fall color. Vs all of my October Glorys have had great bright orange/red fall color every year. I'm attaching a pic of two of them that line the side of the entrance of my driveway taken at Halloween.

I planted a smaller Sun Valley Maple (4' tall) about 3 years ago growing pretty slowly compared to my other maples but very nice red fall color.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Attached is a pic of my Autumn Blaze maple that gets fantastic fall color every year (keep in mind I have two more Autumn Blaze that vary in their fall color every year). This tree is now about 40' tall. I've never pruned it.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Somewhere on your 2.5 acres you need to grow at least one Forest Pansy Redbud. These trees are tempermental but when they put on their best fall color show to me they are hard to beat due to the variation in colors.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Korean Stewartia (pics never capture this tree well even more beautiful than pic)


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

For other part of your 2.5 acres don't forget about potential of Dogwoods for fall color (plus flowers in Spring), this is a Satomi that gets pink/white flowers in Spring, great fall color.


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wynswrld98 - Wow, it looks like you have beautiful grounds around you. How many acres do you have? I totally agree with you about the Japanese maples for the driveway. Before we purchased this lot and built this home, we lived on 5 acres in North Bend. Although the climate was much more extreme than west of Fall City and Issaquah, I had an extensive variety of conifers, Japanese maples, flowering cherry trees, crap apple trees, etc. I love love Japanese maples! One of my favorite varieties is the Sango Kaku. It is a small/medium size with yellow/orange leaves and beautiful red branches in winter. I plan to do a lot of planting of different varieties of Japanese maples on my property. But, I think I'm going to stick with the Sun Valley maples for lining the driveway. I hope it turns out like I picture it will. I will be planting other evergreen shrubs and ground cover to add additional interest. I've already planted 3 Weeping Alaskan Cedars on areas on either side of the front of the house. They are so graceful and I love the look. I, like you, want the property to look very natural, as if it was always there.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 14:37

Weeping Alaskan cedar is a full sized tree over 60' tall. Did you allow enough room for this, or are they going to overwhelm the house both physically and visually (if you are going for naturalistic will not want to be planting formal matching pairs or groups)? One I planted at the corner of my drive when I was a kid grew at least 2 ft. per year once established, some years it seemed like it might have gotten more like 3 ft. taller that year. In time it grew out over the road and began to become a bother, when I had most of the lower part of the property converted to lawn last fall the stump was something like 18 in. across - and too close to the road to grind out.

Measurements of examples of the Van Den Akker clone of 'Pendula' (now listed as 'Van Den Akker' even though that is not what Van Den Akker sold it as) on a commercial site near Kirkland a few years ago produced heights of the order of 79 ft. The planting was identified as this introduction by a member of the Van Den Akker family and the measurements were obtained using a laser range finder.

A section of the parking lots immediately east of the Edmonds marina has both paperbark and what look to be red - as well as some definite Freeman maples, with flame-shaped crowns - growing near one another. The former look in scale with the planting spaces and are covered in decorative bark all winter; the latter are all pokey, explosive and cement colored (except for reddish twigs) - and have been disfigured by removal of larger lower branches in an obvious attempt to keep them away from sidewalks and roads. Some of the Freeman maples are so scalped they might as well cut them down now - they are only going to get bigger and bigger, what are they going to do with them later?

This post was edited by bboy on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 14:40


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

bboy - There is definitely more than enough room in front and on the sides of the house to support very large trees. Our porch is 130' from the street which is cleared and includes a curved 13' wide asphalt driveway. The weeping alaskan cedars are not even close to the actual house. Additionally, we are looking to establish additional privacy on either side of the large front portion as we do have neighbors' houses that can be seen in the winter when most of the trees on those sides are alders. These cedars, along with 7 other conifers closer to the street (planted in two offset rows) will also provide our house with the privacy from the street we are looking for. Eventually, once you enter the driveway and drive up to the house (which is a 3500 sq. ft rambler), it opens up to beautifully landscaped areas including shrubs, grasses, water feature, dry rock bed, etc.) that actually will be framing the front area of the house itself. We are moving in on Saturday and once we move in and all the subcontractors' trucks and stuff is removed from the driveway and apron area in front of the garage doors, I'll post a picture of how it looks now in the very early stages.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 16:10

>Our porch is 130' from the street which is cleared and includes a curved 13' wide asphalt driveway<

Sounds like my place.


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

judysgardens: only 1 acre but looks larger due to no fences between neigbors, no hard lot lines. I'm a huge fan of New England fall color and try to bring as much of it to my lot as I can!


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

I like the Stewartia monodelpha a bit better than the pseudocamellia mentioned above. In addition to beautiful bark, flowers and Fall color, it has smaller leaves. Way easier for the groundcovers to 'eat' them, which translates to less raking. I'm a low maintenance person.
Stewartia monodelpha has an upright habit, therefore, wouldn't be appropriate for the driveway you want. With your acreage, I'm sure you can find room for one.
It also has volunteers here and there in my garden near Maple Valley. That's always a plus. Here's one of the volunteers below.
Mike

Stewartia monodelpha photo 002.jpg


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

Mikebotann and wynswrld98 - I love all the fall colored Japanese maples and other small trees you have on your property. I will look at some of your suggestions for sure when I add to my natural woodlands landscape. Beautiful!!


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RE: Maple trees lining driveway

If you want bright colored bark on a maple, consider Acer circinatum 'Forest Fire', kind of like the coralbark 'Sango Kaku', but more orange scarlet, and they have a rep for holding onto the twig color longer as the bark ages. Plus its a vine maple, so a little more relaxed, open habit. If you look carefully, there are also clones of vine maple that have bright yellow bark, particularly if they are grown in more sun. These can be difficult to find, especially from nursery stock, but if you look for a native plant grower that collects their own seeds, you may be able to find them. I know Wabash Farms in Enumclaw had them a while back, but they are wholesale.


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