Acer (maple) species recommended for Marin:
Vine Maple does well in cooler climates, or in shaded locations which are relatively moist. It tolerates a wide variety of soils but prefers a fairly fertile, moist soil which is rich in humus. It is quite hardy but suffers in hot, dry conditions. A smaller alternative to Japanese Maple, as a patio or lawn specimen, but not as a shade tree per se. It usually develops multi-trunks, and makes a very attractive specimen with a low, broad, foliage canopy with an interesting habit. Good stream-side tree.
Native to California.
Japanese Maple is a commonly used accent tree in lawns or moderately moist settings, beneath an overstory of taller shade trees, and as a residential patio tree. It prefers a moist, well-drained loam with plenty of added humus. It is resistant to oak root fungus and green- leaf varieties can tolerate more sun. There are a multitude of hybrids, including variegated, laceleaf, miniature and purple-leaved varieties. Varieties 'Atropurpureum' and 'Bloodgood' may eventually require regularly scheduled light top-trimming (but not necessarily shearing) of vigorous top shoots to maintain heights below 25'.
Native to Japan and Korea.
Utility friendly tree.
Branches don't droop and resist breakage.