Acer platanoides ‘variagatum’ is a remarkable variety of maple with all the attributes of the family plus, a striking foliage. In Canada, the Maple family holds a special place not only in our hearts but in our landscapes clear across the entire country. During October, we expect to see the country change her dress from deep, vibrant green to the intoxicating melange of colour that Canada is so well known for, thank to this iconic species. The Variegated Norway Maple is a lesser known member of the family but none the less very impressive. This variety will reach heights at maturity of up to 50 feet with a spread of nearly 40 feet, so needless to say it will need lots of space. All to often these simple facts are overlooked as the specimen that is planted is perhaps 10 feet tall. Typically, the trunk will be straight and sturdy with the lower branches around 7 feet from the ground. As the tree matures, the lower branches can be removed in time to allow for traffic, human or otherwise to pass. The platanoides species of Maple to my optics, have very dense crowns which allow for all manner of urban wildlife and birds and also provide a great deal of shade under the tree. Should you wish to prune the tree the only time suitable is when it is in full leaf otherwise, the tree will bleed effusively.
Culture is not that difficult but optimal performance is in moist soil conditions and full sun. Ideally, the soil should be well drained and in good nutrient condition however the pH is not really of concern. Of note, the variegation will be more intense the better the sun! Keep in mind that this maple, as will all of the family, will most likely live for 100 years or more and as such is a great specimen for memorialization. Planting this variegated sister along with a selection of other maples such as Acer rubrum will guarantee a spectacular fall colour parade. The variegated specimen turns yellowish with a tinge of pink, just great with the brilliant reds and oranges of her sisters.
When it comes to selecting your specimen, I would strongly urge you to consider a container grown tree. First of all, they are much easier to physically manage when you get the plant home. Secondly, container grown specimens tend have exceptional root systems as well a reliable supply of slow release nutrients incorporated into the growing media. Always remember to stake your new tree properly so as to ensure that the bark is not being abraded and the tree won’t wobble in the planting hole. Water of course is essential for the first year(s) until your new tree has become well established.