Few small trees stand up to urban conditions as well as the trident maple, Acer buergerianum. In the wild in eastern China and Taiwan it can form a large tree and I was fortunate to see a giant on Tianmu Shan that must have been over 65′ tall. In the garden however they rarely grow larger than 35′ and have been shown to tolerate compacted soils, significant drought, and pollution rather well once they are established. The selection ‘Mino Yatsubusa’ is a slow growing, very choice selection with deeply cut leaves and narrow lobes. It will slowly form a small tree with a broad domed head. It is highly prized for bonsai work and can be pruned into lovely shapes in the landscape. Overall, it gives a somewhat fine texture to the middle canopy and fits into almost any garden setting. Fall color is an intense medley of red, orange, and gold and the winter bark is attractively shaggy on older plants. Plants will grow in full sun but seem to be happiest in light shade in the heat of the south. Plants are often difficult to find since it can be difficult to graft and softwood cuttings root only in very small percentages.
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