Acer rubrum – Red Maple

by Everchanging Gardener

in Acer rubrum - Red Maple

Acer rubrum Franksred

Franksred just starting to turn colour October 2011


Common Names: Red Maple, Scarlet Maple, Curled Maple
Zone: 3 to 9
Plant Type: Deciduous tree
Height: up to 30m
Bloom: red in April / May
Habitat: full sun, prefers moist, slightly acidic soils
Fall Colour: bright to dark red in fal

Pluses: Ontario native, red fall colour, fast growing

Acer rubrum is aptly named. In addition to offering deep red colour in the fall, leaves open in the spring a brilliant red as well. The red flowers and leaf buds are one of the earliest signs of spring in our zone 5 Ontario garden and I look forward to them each year.

Acer Rubrum Red Maple Spring Buds

Red buds opening in April 2010

Red maple is adaptable to many soil types although it prefers moist, slightly acidic soils. In good soil red maple can be a fast grower. We had two large ‘Franskred’ trees planted in our back Woodland Garden in 2007. Both have doubled in size in just 4 years.

Fall colour is an interesting question. I think it depends largely on the variety you choose. I would recommend purchasing, or at least choosing, a variety in fall so you can be sure it will provide the colour you are looking for. Our Acer rubrum ‘Bowhall’ has not provided any significant red colour since planting although Franksred has.

Garden Location: One of the earliest native trees I added to our property, my specimens are all named cultivars.

Acer rubrum ‘Bowhall’ (planted in the Carolinian Garden 2006)– an upright narrow red maple with a columar habit. Bowhall red maple exhibits a more yellow to yellow red fall colour in our area and has proven to be a fairly slow grower.

Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’ or ‘Red Sunset’ (planted in the Woodland Garden in spring 2007) — Red Sunset is a vigorous, fast growing red maple with a pyramidal or oval shape. Red Sunset is very heat and drought tolerant so is good for a drier area. I have found the red colour to be a bit on the dark side, not quite as vivid as advertised however this may change over time.

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