Beautiful, breathtaking, distinctive, eye-catching, awe-inspiring – how many adjectives can we describe the Paperbark maple? The list goes on and on. This tree has many impressive features, but the one you’ll notice first is the bark. The bark exfoliates in paper-thin layers of coppery orange-brown, which looks particularly striking in the snow. These papery curls remain on the tree instead of falling to the ground. Small branches will display exfoliating bark making this a proper specimen tree, even at a young age. Most specimens are seen with multiple trunks and really show off that unique bark. Multi-stemmed individuals tend to branch close to the ground, but you can create a single trunk when young with proper training.
Paperbark Maple is one of the last maples to develop fall color, and its trifoliate leaves are somewhat persistent into winter. Foliage is fine-textured and unusual, with leaves darker green and smaller than most maples. Fall color is generally very vibrant, from orange-red to burgundy and bronze.
Given its smaller size, it is well suited as a front yard specimen, accent tree around a patio or poolside hardscape, near foundation beds, or providing ideal shade for outdoor living spaces. Paperbark maple is also known as an excellent and popular subject for bonsai.