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November Plant of the Month

by | Nov 1, 2015 | Market News

Apollo Sugar Maple, an Excellent Tree for Small Spaces

Elementary Botany students learn about the fact of variation, that no two plants are alike, in size, form, color, vigor, and productiveness, or other characters, they differ.  The most usual form of any plant is considered to be its type, that is, its representative form.  Any marked departure from this type is a variation, that is, a difference.  Variations are of many degrees.  The differences, in any case, may be so slight as to pass unnoticed, or may be so marked as to challenge even the casual observer.  Such was the case in the 1990s when Robert B. Cole of Circleville, Ohio, noticed a chance sugar maple seedling (Acer saccharum) growing in his community that had a narrow upright shape and a compact growth habit.

This unusual sugar maple seedling, so different in shape and growth from the surrounding sugar maple trees, was the result of a seed-variation.  Never does a seed exactly reproduce its parent.  Neither do any two seeds, even from the same fruit, ever produce plants exactly alike.  This chance seeding, with its distinctive characteristics, had value for cultivation and became a horticultural variety when it was patented in 1998 and given the name ‘Barret Cole’.  This exceptional sugar maple variety (varieties are only named variations) is now known in the trade as ‘Apollo Sugar Maple’.

Sugar Maples are perhaps the most prized of all North American trees.  Stately and elegant, many sugar maples are too large for small properties; however, ‘Apollo Sugar Maple’ with its compact growth habit and semi-dwarf growth rate fits perfectly in a small lot.  Growing to 25 feet tall and 10 feet wide ‘Apollo Sugar Maple’ becomes a focal point planted in a front yard.

As with all other Sugar Maples, ‘Apollo Sugar Maple’ does best planted in moisture-retentive, clay loam soils where its root system will not be restricted or disturbed.  Sugar Maples do poorly and are short lived planted in sandy soils.  They are also intolerant of salt.

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