A Vibrant Beauty
The Red Maple lives up to its colorful name for much of the year. In the winter, green stems turn brilliant red. The structure of the bare branches is another attractive winter feature. Clusters of small red flowers begin to grow they bloom until spring. The flowers fruit into double seed pods which are known as samaras. These begin with a rosy hue before drying to yellow. Many children refer to these as helicopter seeds as they twirl to the ground. New leaves emerge tinged with red before unfurling to dark green with a silvery underside.
During the fall, however, is when the Red Maple is most breathtaking. Its autumn colors range from a brilliant yellow to a deep red, sometimes within the same branch. If you desire picture-postcard worthy autumns, this is the tree to plant.
The Red Maple is truly an easy tree to grow. It will thrive in a wide variety of soil types. It has a slight tolerance to dry conditions, but it does prefer moist or wet settings. Additionally, it requires a location in full sun. This means it receives at least six hours of sunlight each day.
Hardy from zones 3 through 9, it can grow throughout much of North America. It is native to the eastern United States but has been successfully introduced to other areas, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.
Especially in drier areas, this maple will appreciate a layer of mulch around its base to retain moisture as long as no mulch comes in contact with the trunk itself.
Since it grows at a medium to fast pace, it can add 13 to 24 inches every year until it reaches a height of 40-60 feet. The branches can reach a diameter of around 40 feet. Plant at least 20 feet away from any buildings and leave about 25 feet between trunks if planting in groups.
Plant Name Information
As with many plants, the Red Maple is known by a few different names. As a nod to its moisture preference, it is also called the Swamp or Water Maple. In Latin, it is Acer rubrum.
Whatever you plan for your outdoor space, be sure to plant the Red Maple where it is highly visible. A single tree will shade picnics and outdoor games. A group spaced at random will create a grove of show-stopping fall color. A row along a road or drive will provide a jaw-dropping welcome. Be sure to add a Red Maple Tree to your space for year-long beauty and enjoyment.