Acer buergerianum
Family: Sapindaceae
Common name: Trident Maple

Trident Maple has been highly regarded internationally for its ability to grow into a trouble-free tree up to 9m tall by 6-7m broad. In the northern hemisphere, it is regarded as highly drought-tolerant, but in south-eastern Australia, it grows best on soils with some summer irrigation.

In Australia, there have been problems selecting A. buergerianum suitable as street trees; most nursery-grown trees branch very low, and lack a central leader. If the tree is grown after formative pruning, an excellent shape can be planted: Trident Maple must be purchased as a single-leader tree.

Autumn colour can be variable on Trident Maple; some trees will colour to a vivid red, with others having only feeble yellow colour. Trident Maple typically colours later than most trees, giving a streetscape an interesting early winter appearance.

Like most maples, Trident Maple is not troubled by pests or diseases; in Australia, maples are trouble-free if grown with adequate irrigation and protection from hot northerly winds.

Currently all A. buergerianum are grown as seedlings; Metropolitan Tree Growers will select a better form from the many hundreds that are planted in metropolitan Melbourne, and will be releasing a budded, elite form in the next few years.

Nursery notes:
We find it difficult to develop a strong central leader and radial structural branches with this tree.

Reference:

Dirr, M. 1990 Manual of woody landscape plants: their identification, ornamental characteristics, culture, propagation and uses. 4th edition. Stipes Publishing, Champaign Illinois USA.

Typical mature height: to 9m
Useful in: streetscapes, restricted areas

Sites for best growth: clay soils, occasional irrigation