In natural architecture, design is not all about expression and function, but also emotion. What do you “feel” when you see and touch structures like trees, hills, mountains and plants? I can tell you that spring is near and the vibrant colorful freshness of maple trees are called for on a project we have. I know that is difficult to find in Austin but nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it.
Last week, I traveled to two places that grow and sell maple trees. The Metro-Maples http://www.metromaples.net/ and Love Creek Orchards (formerly known as Love Creek Nursery) www.lovecreekorchards.com.
Metro Maples is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They have a wide variety of maple trees but the one I most wanted was their patented “fire dragon” Patent #17367 (acer truncatum) shantung maple tree. It is a unique tree that can thrive well in our Austin rocky limestone soil. This type of tree is very unique because of the consistent red color that it produces in the fall. The beauty of this tree is not only the red color, but the ability to be drought tolerant. Once established, the water maintenance can be low which is good for weather conditions that we have here. It is also fast growing.
The other nursery, Love Creek Orchards, produces beautiful native maple trees called BigTooth Maple (acer grandidentatum). This tree is prime example of Texas style colors where you can see a variety of them at the Lost Maples State Natural Area http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/lost-maples near Medina, Texas. This native tree is unique too because not only can it produce variety of colors in the fall, but can provide nourishment for deers (acceptable plural form Merriam Webster, 2013). The only problem with that is, because it is highly desired by deers, all the young maple trees have a very difficult time growing to maturity. Most sprouted seedlings are devoured before having a chance to make it. The other problem is consistency in color. These trees are very difficult to propogate by cuttings and are mostly raised by seeds therefore, there is no way to define particular fall color from seedlings. However, Love Creek Orchards do mark their trees with a red striping if their leaves turn red in the fall.
Another fantastic maple tree is the John Pair JFS Caddo2 Patent 23361 or Flashfire (Acer Saccharum). I had to order this from Forest Farm at Pacifica www.forestfarm.com . This type of tree is interesting because it has recently been developed to withstand our type of environment – hot dry and full of rocky limestone soil. There are hardly any reviews on this particular tree but with all good things being new, I must try it! The interesting part about this tree is that its derivative comes from the Caddo Mountains. It has been cultivated over the years to produce intense red color in fall and have a more pyramid like tree form. It is beautiful.
As you can tell, I love maple trees. Oak trees are great and some can provide color, but I live on emotions and to me, vibrant colors are an extension of my inner emotions. If you get a chance to see a maple tree in its fall colors, take a short moment to gaze at it and see how the colors make you feel. You might surprise yourself to find how much love drips out of your heart like maple syrup can from these sweet colorful trees.
by Jon Lee