It’s not too late to add a col­or­ful tree — maybe a maple? — to your yard

The News Tribune - - Sound Life - BY MAR­I­ANNE BINETTI Con­tribut­ing writer

Even in mid-No­vem­ber you might have one last chance to mow and edge the lawn be­fore win­ter sets in.

But don’t mow or walk on your lawn if the soil is soggy and wet as the weight of your mower and feet can com­pact the soil and squish out all the air pock­ets. Your lawn will suf­fer from this next sum­mer.

For the same rea­son, don’t mow the lawn if the ground is frozen or frosty. If the weather is too wet or too cold, then you have two great ex­cuses to put away the mow­ing ma­chines.

No­vem­ber is also the month to win­ter­ize power ma­chines such as mow­ers, edgers and blow­ers. Some need to have the oil drained be­fore win­ter. Some need to have sta­bi­lizer added. All need clean­ing be­fore stor­age.

Your re­ward will be a ma­chine that starts when re­fu­eled for the spring sea­son.

Au­tumn is the time to cel­e­brate fall color and in West­ern Wash­ing­ton the maple fam­ily of­fers the most com­mon fo­liage dis­plays. It is not too late to visit a nurs­ery and bring home a tree for plant­ing. As long as the ground is not frozen you can still move or add trees and shrubs to the land­scape.

Here are the most pop­u­lar maples for our area:

Oc­to­ber Glory red maple

The leaves on this maple are held onto the tree later than most other cul­ti­vars so it can even be called No­vem­ber Glory as the sum­mer green leaves turn bright or­ange and then red­dish-pur­ple ev­ery au­tumn.

Tall and with a rounded form this is a large shade tree so give it plenty of room. This maple grows 40 to 50 feet tall and up to 40 feet wide. Use it to cre­ate a big, bold dis­play in a land­scape with lots of space.

Sun­set maple

Un­like the first maple men­tioned with late fall color, this large maple trees wins the award for early fall color.

Young trees have a tidy pyra­mi­dal form but don’t let that fool you into think­ing the Sun­set maple will stay nar­row. It is a mod­er­ate grower but even­tu­ally will tower over a land­scape reach­ing 40 feet high and al­most as wide.

The glossy green leaves turn a show-stop­ping, bril­liant or­ange that will give any land­scape a fiery jolt of sun­set col­ors.

If you have the room, plant a va­ri­ety of maple trees with both early and late fall color dis­plays. Not only will you ex­tend the color show but you also won’t have all your trees drop­ping fo­liage onto the lawn at the same time.

(Yes, you do have to re­move large maple leaves from your lawn.)

Blood­good Ja­panese maple

This is an easy-to-grow Ja­panese maple that stays small with a slen­der form.

The bur­gundy-red fo­liage is at­trac­tive in the sum­mer, then turns bril­liant scar­let in fall. This maple can take fil­tered sun and is con­sid­ered a mod­er­ate grower to 15 feet tall and wide. Well suited as a small lawn tree or near a pa­tio or en­try­way.

Now here is a bit of gar­den gos­sip on this one. The small stature and hardy growth is be­cause it is a grafted tree, so watch for non-con­form­ing sprouts of growth com­ing from low on the trunk. Cut out these new shoots or bet­ter yet pull them from the trunk to re­move the growth eye.

When new growth comes from a grafted plant it can turn into a hos­tile takeover. Take charge early at the first signs of a rev­o­lu­tion.

Wa­ter­fall Ja­panese maple

Bar­gain hunters might find this at­trac­tive spec­i­men tree for sale at the end of the sea­son when box stores and nurs­eries dis­count trees still in stock.

The Wa­ter­fall maple is an­other grafted tree, so this ex­plains the high price of this slow-grow­ing beauty. It is worth seek­ing out even if you must wait un­til spring and pay full price. (You can or­der one now for pick up in the spring.)

The Wa­ter­fall maple dis­plays dra­matic, cas­cad- ing branches that start green but turn golden and peach in the fall. Grow­ing only eight to 10 feet tall this ac­cent tree will do well in a large con­tainer, near a front en­try or as a fo­cal point in a fall theme gar­den.

Like all mem­bers of the Ja­panese maple fam­ily (the Acer pal­ma­tums are a large and var­ied group) this small tree will adapt to part shade.

Reach Mar­i­anne Binetti through her web­site at bi­net­ti­gar­ or write to her at P.O. Box 872, Enum­claw WA 98022.

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