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How to Grow Acer griseum Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Paperbark Maple

Acer griseum, also known as the Paperbark maple, is a tree species native to China. It belongs to the Sapindaceae tree family (maples).

It is noted for its fall colours and peeling copper-toned bark. Plants grow well in USDA zones 4 to 8.

Paperbark Maple

Paperbark Maple photograph by S. Rae; CC.

This deciduous tree is relatively small in stature. Most Paperbark maples only reach 15 to 30 feet (4.5 to 9 m) tall when fully mature.

Paperbark maple

Acer griseum - Paperbark Maple photograph by Wendy Cutler, CC.


Because of its small height and width, this tree makes an excellent addition to any modest-sized backyard.

Garden enthusiasts love it for its four-season foliage. Spring and summer reveal dark green leaves complemented by a pop of yellow from tiny blooming flowers.

In the fall, the foliage changes to a reddish-orange hue.

Winter causes the leaves to shed from their branches, but the exfoliating curls of the cinnamon coloured bark makes a statement against a snowy background.

Popular locations for planting the Paperbark maple include being near a deck, patio, or kitchen window. This is because these allow viewers to appreciate their seasonal beauty.

Acer griseum

Acer griseum photograph by F. D. Richards, CC.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Paperbark Maple

The Paperbark maple is a low maintenance plant easily grown in moist, well-drained soils.

Acer griseum can also tolerate clay soils and soils and a variety of pH levels.

This deciduous tree is capable of growing in direct sun or part shade.

During the first three growing seasons, it is important that the roots stay hydrated.

Early spring is the best time to feed the tree with a granular fertilizer.

Apart from the initial planting phase and the periodically removing of any diseased or damaged wood, the Paperbark maple needs little pruning.

If pruning is required, the best time of year to trim back the tree is in the late autumn / fall or early winter when the tree enters its dormant period.

Acer griseum Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Acer griseum.
  • Common Name: Paperbark maple.
  • Growing Zone: USDA: 4 to 8, RHS H5 (hardy to 5°F (-15°C).
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Deciduous Tree.
  • Native: China.

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 20 to 36 feet (7 to 12 m).
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 15 to 25 feet (5 to 8 m)
  • Time of Bloom: Middle of Spring.
  • Flower Details: Yellow. CLustered.
  • Leaf Foliage: Trifoliate. 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 cm) long. Green above. Blue or grey-green beneath. Leaves turns copper, bronze, pink, or red in the autumn.
  • Fruit: Winged achene.
  • Bark: Copper, red. Attractive decorative peeling bark effect.
  • Growth Form: Oval, Rounded, Spreading, Upright branching.

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially Shady to full sunlight.
  • Rate of Growth: Grows slowly, reaching full height after about 20 years in a garden, to 50 years for wild taller plants.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Slightly Acidic well drained soils for best results. Can grow in Clays, loam, chalk, and sandy soils.
  • Soil Moisture: Medium.

Caring Conditions

  • Acer griseum Care: Water well during dry periods as this tree does not tolerate drought.
  • Level of Maintenance: Low.
  • Propagation: Seed (most seeds are infertile, so sow about 20 seeds for each expected seedling. Best cultivated from juvenile cuttings.
  • How to Prune: Requires little to no pruning. In some cases hard pruning can be disruptive. Light pruning should only be perfomred in late winter or the start of spring.
  • Pests: Aphids and horse chestnut scale are sometimes a problem.
  • Diseases: Usually disease free, but Verticillium wilt can be problematic.

Further Information

  • Can Attract: Not really known as a wildlife plant, but the tree may provide shelter.
  • Tolerant of: Clay Soil.
  • Best Garden Use: Ornamental tree. Autumn colour and Winter interst. Good for smaller properties and Gardens. Understory. Border, Areas requiring pest tolerance, As a specimen shade tree.


Paperbark Maple Trees in Winter

Paperbark Maple trees in the Winter snow, image by the Plant Image Library; CC.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Acer griseum .You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Acer Plants and Acer negundo.



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