Maples are popular trees; association, their cheerful habit of growth, their prim, spinster-like attitude and demeanour, their luxuriant foliage have all contributed to their popularity. The most picturesque of them all is the Swamp, or Red Maple, which, however, does well when transplanted to uplands and is very easy to move. If the Swamp Maple is cut back at the right time it can be trained into a most effective tree. It can be used with the Pin Oak, and as the latter keeps the colour of its leaves longer, the Swamp Maple's vivid red against the Pin Oak's green or yellowish brown makes a sensational burst of colour in the Autumn foliage. It is the first tree to turn, and you no doubt have seen it splashing the swamps with spots of dazzling scarlet in mid-September.
Sugar Maples are rather formal, shrub-like trees of heavy, even foliage that were used in New England to line avenues in conjunction with Elms, and were also planted extensively in rows in front of farmhouses and other dwellings for their greenery and shade - and sap. Many New England village streets are completely congested with these trees, as the custom of planting them in front of the houses became so general that light and air have been shut out, an effect which is rather depressing, but to which the attention of the New Englander cannot be called without giving offence.
Avenue of Maples.
In many towns these trees have grown so large and have been guarded so carefully that the once attractive front-yard gardens have been completely smothered out. Would it not be better to sacrifice a few of the trees, even though tradition and superstition are slightly jarred? Sugar Maples were considered very ornamental by the landscape gardeners of thirty years or so ago, and were much used by them for decorating lawns.
Norway Maple is a tree of much the same character but of more massive appearance. It, too, has the lines of a large shrub in Winter, from the upright growth of its limbs. The cut-leaved Maple is a tree of very rapid growth, so rapid in fact that it is useless and is never planted except where a quick effect is imperative. The wood is so brittle and fragile that it is always being blown to pieces. The fancy Maples, such as the Silver and the Weeping, should not be planted on estates of the size of those under consideration as they are purely decorative trees without character or meaning, that belong to the landscape-garden type and have not as much merit as many shrubs.