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Red Maple

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The tree that lights up New England yellow and red in fall; a great shade tree, but very intolerant of alkaline soils; fall color is not consistently red in the species, so the many named cultivars are often chosen

Characteristics

Species:
rubrum
Other Species Names:
Swamp Maple, Scarlet Maple
Average Landscape Height:
50 feet
Average Landscape Width:
40 feet
Genus:
Acer
Branching:
decurrent
Plant Form:
oval
Canopy:
high
Growth Rate:
medium
Pruning:
prune in full leaf
Flower Color:
red
Flower Period:
in early spring
Summer Foliage Color:
green
Fall Color:
red
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Light:
full sun
Maximum Moisture:
wet
Minimum Moisture:
average
Pollution Tolerance:
medium

Ornamental Features

Red Maple features showy clusters of red flowers along the branches in early spring before the leaves. It has green deciduous foliage which emerges red in spring. The lobed leaves turn an outstanding red in the fall. It produces red samaras in late spring. The furrowed silver bark and brick red branches add an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes

Red Maple is a deciduous tree with a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

Planting & Growing

Red Maple will grow to be about 50 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 40 feet. It has a high canopy with a typical clearance of 7 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. As it matures, the lower branches of this tree can be strategically removed to create a high enough canopy to support unobstructed human traffic underneath. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 80 years or more.

This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the foliage in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America.

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