Sun exposure:
Dappled shade, full sun, partial shade
East facing, north facing, south facing, west facing


Acidic / Chalky / Alkaline / Clay / Heavy / Moist / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

Acer griseum (paperbark maple) is a slow-growing, spreading tree with dark red or chestnut bark, which flakes and peels back to reveal new, smooth, orange-red bark beneath. It's common name of paperbark maple is due to its habit of peeling bark, which looks like paper when it starts to come away from the tree. In autumn its dark green leaves develop fantastic shades of red and orange. These leaves then fall to reveal the papery bark, which forms a focal point throughout winter. It's an incredibly ornamental tree and deserves a prominent spot where it's year-round beauty can be fully appreciated. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Paperbark maple grows to a maximum of height of 10 metres so is idea for a small garden. It lives to an average of 100 years but is slow growing – you will likely never see its mature height.

Grow Acer griseum in moist but well-drained soil in sun to partial shade. Mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost. There's very little need to prune, but if you need to remove damaged or disease branches, prune Acer griseum from November to January, as this is when the plant is dormant – acers "bleed" sap if pruned too early.

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Advice on buying paperbark maple

  • Paperbark maple is slow growing so buy as large a specimen as you can afford
  • You may find paperbark maple at your local garden centre but you'll find more choice online
  • Always check plants for signs of disease or damage before buying

Where to buy paperbark maple

Plant calendar


Acer and wildlife

Acer has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Acer poisonous?

Acer has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People
Plants that go well with Acer griseum