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Plant Profile: Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)

acer-circinatumVine maple is a deciduous small tree or large shrub native to the Pacific Northwest where it grows in mountainous area from British Columbia to Northern California. It has twisted ropelike branches that are red when young but turn red brown with maturity. The branches sometimes sprawl along and the ground like a heavy vine and take root creating natural arches. Usually grown as a multi-trunked tree, the branches create intricate designs that add beauty to the winter landscape . The leaves are two to seven inches long and wide and have five to eleven lobes lobes and sharply toothed margins. They are reddish when they first appear in spring, turn dark green for the summer and bright red and orange in the fall. The tiny flowers appear in the spring in drooping corymbs. They have reddish purple sepals and greenish-white petals, and give way to pairs of red, winged seed pods (samaras) l.5 inches long. Vine maple can be used as a patio tree, or specimen and can be grown in a tub or espaliered.

Type: Deciduous small tree or large shrub

Outstanding Feature: Twisted stems, fall coloration

Form: Wide-spreading, arching

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Tiny flowers in drooping corymbs with reddish purple sepals and greenish-white petals in spring

Size: 25-35’ h 25-35’ W

Light: Partial shade

Soil: Prefers moderately fertile, moist, well-drained; tolerates most soil

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Care: Prune before growth starts in spring to avoid excessive bleeding; apply manure once every two years in the fall.

Pests and Diseases: Aphids

Propagation: Division, seed

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