Inula Royleana
Midwest Gardening
Red Maples

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The stunning autumn colors and adaptability of the Red Maple, Acer rubrum, makes it one of the most widely planted maple trees.

The best characteristics of the Red Maple and the Silver Maple have been combined in a new variety of Seedless Maples.  Be sure to check the seedless varieties available on the previous page.


Acer rubrum Red Maple

  • Zones:  3-9Acer rubrum Red Maple
  • Sun to part shade
  • Height:  50-75’ average, up to 90’
  • Spread:  25-45’
  • Shape:  Pyramid when young, becoming more rounded
  • Growth Rate:  Rapid growth when young, slowing after a few years.  Matures at 70 to 80 years old.  Life span is short to medium at about 150 years or less.
  • Soil Preference:  Highly adaptable to a wide range of soil types and textures, but does not tolerate salt.
  • Moisture:  Prefers well drained moist sites, but highly adaptable to very dry and very moist.
  • Foliage:  Moderately dense, medium green leavesAcer rubrum Red Maple leaves
  • Blooms:  If present, small clusters are generally red, but sometimes yellow, appearing in early spring before the leaves. 
  • Fruit:  If present, clusters of 1/2 to 3/4” long winged seeds (called samara) dangle from long slim stems.  The seeds are often red, ripening in late spring to early summer.

The leaf of the Red Maple is a bit different than most maples.  They more simple, generally with three lobes but the shape is quite triangular.  They are green on top and whitened on the underside.  Young branches are usually reddish, and green to reddish in fall.  Red Maple is prized for brilliant early fall color, which can be yellow, orange or red.  In goodAcer rubrum Red Maple seeds conditions the Red Maple grows with good form, but if the site is poor it may grow with poor form and be defective.  Prune by thinning, which often stimulates growth better than fertilization.  The wood is weak, and can be susceptible to breakage.  Due to roots systems that quickly adapt, they are easy to transplant.  Young red maples are a desirable food source for deer.  The seeds attract birds and squirrels, but do not make a significant mess.  The red maple is native to North America, generally found in the eastern half of the country from north to south, but grow well when planted from coast to coast.  Mature height is often shorter in the south, but can reach as high as 90 feet in the north.  It is also known as Scarlet Maple, Carolina Red Maple, Drummond Red Maple, Soft Maple, Swamp Maple and Water Maple. Acer rubrum Red Maple flower







Acer Rubrum ‘Columnare’ Columnar Red Maple

  • Zones:  3-8Acer rubrum 'Columnare' Red Maple
  • Full Sun for best development, will tolerate part shade
  • Height:  40-70’or more, up to 100’
  • Spread:  15-30
  • Shape:  Pyramid when young, develops to a rounded oval
  • Growth Rate:  Medium to fast
  • Soil Preference:  Will tolerate a wide range of soil types.  Prefers slightly acidic, will develop chlorosis in alkaline soil.
  • Moisture:  Prefers moist soil
  • Foliage:  Dark shiny green with pale green underside
  • Blooms:  Red flowers in dense clusters early spring
  • Fruit:  Smara

‘Columnare’ maple transplants and establishes easily.  It is quite tolerant of many conditions and adapts well.  Autumn foliage is orange-red.  Makes an excellent specimen plant, or where space is limited. 


Acer Rubrum ‘Magnificent Magenta’ Burgundy Belle Red MapleAcer rubrum 'Magnificent Magenta' Red Maple

  • Zones:  3-8
  • Sun to Part Sun
  • Height:  30-50’
  • Spread:  25-45’
  • Shape:  Oval and compact with a symmetrical branching habit.
  • Growth Rate:  Medium
  • Soil Preference:  Avoid alkaline clay soil
  • Moisture:  Average moisture requirements but is very drought tolerant
  • Foliage:  Medium to dark green with small delicate leaves.
  • Blooms:  If present, red
  • Fruit:  If present, red/black seeds with wings (called samara) in early springAcer rubrum 'Magnificent Magenta' bud twig color

‘Magnificent Magenta’ is a vigorous grower that is very cold tolerant.  The crown develops symmetrically with a compact oval shape.  Very tolerant of heat and drought.  In autumn foliage turns to a burgundy red or magenta red in mid September.  The color is long lasting, and then, just before leaf drop turns scarlet.  Prune to a central lAcer rubrum 'Magnificent Magenta' leaves fall coloreader when the tree is young.  Great tree for street plantings and small properties.  This maple is native to Northern Illinois, but was discovered in Kansas.




Acer rubrum ‘Red Sunset’  (Frank’s Red) Red Sunset Maple

  • Zones:  3-9Acer rubrum 'Red Sunset' Red Sunset Maple
  • Sun to Part Sun
  • Height:  40-60’
  • Spread:  25-35’, sometimes as wide as 50-60’
  • Shape:  Pyramid to upright and broadly oval
  • Growth Rate:  Medium to fast
  • Soil Preference:  Prefers moist but is adaptable, tolerates acidic.  Does not tolerate salt.
  • Moisture:  Average moisture requirements, will tolerate periods of wet and moderate drought
  • Foliage:  Moderately dense with shiny green leaves on top, pale green on the underside.  More dense in full sun, opens up in part shade.
  • Blooms:  If present, small red blooms in dense clusters, in early spring
  • Fruit: If present, red seeds with wings (called samara) in spring that attracts birds and squirrels, no significant litter.  Male specimens will be seedless.Acer rubrum Red Sunset leaves

Red Sunset is one of the most commonly used maples.  In the right location it grows strong with symmetrical branching.  Twigs and stems are reddish and leave buds a red. Fall color is brilliant red.  An excellent choice where a medium shade tree is needed - small properties, near a deck or patio, a Acer rubrum Red Sunset leaf budsboulevard tree or as a specimen.  Prune when young to develop a central leader and to promote wood strength.  Prune wayward and weak branches by thinning, and prune lower branches for clearance.  A less aggressive root system than Silver Maples.  A reliable maple in the south but will not reach maximum heights unless it is grown in a moist location.


Acer rubrum October Glory

  • Zones:  4-8
  • Sun to Part Sun
  • Height:  25-50’
  • Spread:  25-35’
  • Shape:  Broad oval to round
  • Growth Rate:  Medium to fast
  • Soil Preference:  Prefers moist but is widely adaptable.
  • Moisture:  Average moisture requirements, will tolerate periods moderate drought
  • Foliage:  Dense with dark green leaves
  • Blooms:  If present, small red blooms
  • Fruit: If present, small red double samaras, loved by birds and squirrels.  Male specimens will be seedless.

October Glory Maple is one of the most popular of the Red Maples.  Deeply colored summer foliage hangs on long into fall.  Fall color is intensely red to orange-red.  Does very well as a lawn or a street planting.


Acer rubrum ‘Autumn Flame’

  • Zones:  4-8Acer rubrum 'Autumn Flame'
  • Sun to Part Sun
  • Height:  40-60’
  • Spread:  40-60’
  • Shape:  Pyramid when young, maturing more oval
  • Growth Rate:  Medium to fast
  • Soil Preference:  Prefers moist but is widely adaptable.
  • Moisture:  Average moisture requirements, is not tolerant of drought
  • Foliage:  Bright green with a hint of scarlet
  • Blooms:  If present, small red blooms
  • Fruit: If present, small red and yellow double samaras, loved by birds and squirrels.  Male specimens will be seedless.

Autumn Flame Maple is one of the first maples to begin turning in autumn.  Fall foliage turns vivid scarlet.  Growing habit is dense with upright branching.  The trunk may ultimately reach a diameter of 3-5 feet.  This maple does require full sun for best summer and autumn coloring.

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