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Red Maple

red maple
red maple
red maple
red maple

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Scientific Name: Acer rubrum
Family: Aceraceae

This tree in Colorado Best in neutral or acidic soils; likely to develop iron and manganese chlorosis over time in alkaline soils. Hybrids with silver maple such as ‘Autumn Blaze’ have performed well along the Front Range.

Hardiness Depends on cultivar; some hardy to zone 3; 7500’ or lower.

Growth rate Medium growth rate; size varies with cultivar; most should reach about 35 feet tall.

Growth habit Various, depending on cultivar.

Foliage Opposite, simple, 2-4” long and wide, 3-5 lobes. Upper surface green, lower surface gray-green. Fall color varies, yellow to orange-red to red. Best fall color in acidic to neutral soil pH.

Flowers Small, reddish-purple, prior to leafing.

Fruit Twin samara, often reddish.

Insects and diseases Chlorosis due to less available iron and manganese in alkaline soils.

Landscape value Medium-high for shade and fall color; lowered value for trees that become chlorotic.

Best advice May look good for several years before developing chlorosis. Test soil pH before planting; ideally 7.4 or lower. Likely more successful in older, longer-cultivated soils than in new housing areas. Best in large rooting areas such as tree lawns; not drought-tolerant; avoid planting in heat-loaded sites.

Information sources
Michael Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (University of Georgia, 1990)

Photo credits
Robert Cox

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