Acer campastre (Field Maple)
Other Names: Common Maple, Dog Oak, Hedge Maple
Description: A medium sized deciduous tree with leaves that are typically small and cut into 5 blunt lobes, turning an attractive yellow or red in autumn. Flowers are a yellowish green in mostly erect spikes and appear at the same time as emerging leaves. Fruits are “Helicopter” like with twin blades set at 180. Common in wood edges but often found in hedges where it can stand alone, be shaped into the hedge or be coppiced.
Uses: Wood is often used for turning, furniture making and musical instruments but size and shape of tree reduce its usefulness
Conservation Value: Field Maple is attractive to aphids and so attracts their associated predators including Ladybirds, Birds and Hoverfly’s. Several species of moth feed on the leaves and the nectar attracts bees and birds. Small mammals feed on the fallen seeds in winter.
Preferred Locations: Tolerant species growing on loams, chalk, clay and sand and can stand moist to well drains soils. Likes full sunlight to partial shade light conditions
Size: Up to 25m but more usually 10 - 20m in height with 4 - 8m canopy spread
Time to reach full height: 10 to 20 years
Lifespan: Up to 350 years
Aesculus hippocastenum (Horse Chestnut)
Other Names: Buck-eye, Conker Tree, Spanish Chestnut
Description: A large deciduous tree largely planted in parks and open spaces, churchyards and often seen as a street tree. Less often seen in woodlands where it can shade out the woodland floor. Distinctive leaves in clusters or “Hands” of 5-8 separate leaves. Large white/pink “Candle” flowers seen in May to June in great numbers. Fruits have tough, green, fleshy, spikey shells hiding a large shiny nut or Conker in autumn. Buds are large and very sticky all winter before leaves emerge early in spring.
Uses: The wood of the Horse Chestnut is pale milky white to light brown and relatively soft, making it ideal for carving but of little use commercially. As well as being used in the game we all know and love, conkers have been used at horse medicines and in shampoos.
Conservation Value: The large flowers provide a strong source of nectar for insects, specially bees. The caterpillars of both the Triangle and Leaf Minor moths feed on the leaves and so provide food for birds. Mammals, including deer, feed on the conkers.
Preferred Locations: Very tolerant tree which can cope with almost any soil type including chalk, sand, clay, acidic or alkaline. They do however they do prefer moist but well drained and fertile soils. Ideally, Horse Chestnuts prefer full sun locations.
Size: Can reach heights of up to 40m and have a large canopy of 8 - 10m.
Time to reach full height: 40 years
Lifespan: Up to 300 years