DescriptionField maples (Acer campestre) are the only maple which are native to the UK, and they are superb hedging plant. The small lobed leaves are bright green through spring and summer, but turn bright golden yellow in autumn. The flowers and fruit are inconspicuous, but are loved by wildlife - they are a source of pollen and nectar for bees and birds, and the seeds are popular with small mammals. The leaves are attractive to aphids, which then encourages a whole host of prestors into your garden, such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflys.
Field maples are also extremely tough and long-lived, they can live to be up to 250 years old. They do extremely well in areas of air pollution, so are very useful for urban gardens. Naturally compact, they are a perfect hedging plant, and provide a dense screen which is not thorny. They will grow just about anywhere, so great for exposed, windy sites or poor chalky soils. It also has low light requirements, so perfect for a shady spot. Slightly less happy on very acid soils, but otherwise is pretty bombproof.
As a single species hedge, plant in a single row spacing one plant every 30cm. Also makes an excellent non-thorny alternative to hawthorn as the basis of a mixed hedgerow.