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Red Maple Acer rubrum

Phonetic Spelling
AY-ser ROO-brum
Description

Red Maple is a deciduous tree that may grow 40 to 120 feet tall but is usually less than 40 feet. It grows faster than Norway and sugar maples, but slower than silver maple. The leaves are opposite, with 3-5 palmate lobes and toothed margins on long red stems.  The red maple has a slightly smaller leaf than most other species of maples. Its leaves' most distinctive feature is a rough, saw-like edge. If the leaf margin, or edge, of your maple's leaves appear serrated, it is probably a red maple. The bark of young trees is smooth, silvery-gray becoming scaly and dark with age.  Small, red flowers in clusters mature in late-winter and are one of the first trees to flower in early spring.  During spring, light brown or red-winged samaras mature.  In the fall the leaves turn orange-red fall through the brilliance of this color can vary among individual trees. Transplants as a small specimen bare-root, or balled and burlapped. One of the first trees to show color in the fall.

This tree is the best choice for a soft maple.  It makes an excellent, lawn, park, or street tree however, it has a shallow, flattened root system that may buckle nearby sidewalks or driveways if planted too close.  It has some tolerance to air pollution and transplants well when young.  Medium to large deciduous tree with small fragrant clusters of red and orange flowers hanging from reddish twigs. Often pyramidal in youth, it develops ascending branches, results in irregular, oviod or rounded crown.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating. 

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves: Fall; Bloom: Winter/Early Spring; Fruit/Seed/Nut: Spring

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Canker, fungal leaf spot, and root rots may also occur. Wind and ice can break branches. This tree has a shallow, flattened root system that may buckle nearby sidewalks or driveways if planted too close.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#red#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#large shade tree#yellow#birds#shade tree#songbirds#specimen#wildlife plant#native tree#nectar plant#colorful leaves#tsc#playground#host#wet sites#small mammals#food source#cpp#low flammability#NC native#buffer#children's garden#native garden#fire resistant#edible seeds#screening#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source spring
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#red#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#large shade tree#yellow#birds#shade tree#songbirds#specimen#wildlife plant#native tree#nectar plant#colorful leaves#tsc#playground#host#wet sites#small mammals#food source#cpp#low flammability#NC native#buffer#children's garden#native garden#fire resistant#edible seeds#screening#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source spring
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    rubrum
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Newfoundland to Florida West to Minnesota Oklahoma and Texas.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    A larval host plant for caterpillars.  Flower nectar attracts bees and other pollinators.  Seeds are enjoyed by birds.  White-tailed deer browse twigs and leaves but this tree is moderately resistant to damage.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Colorful
    Edible fruit
    Pieces Used in Games
    Screening
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wind Break
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire in landscape. Tolerates wet soil occasionally.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 120 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 25 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2b, 2a, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    A paired, red, pink, or yellow, winged samara about 3/4" long.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    One of the first trees to flower in winter and early spring. Born in slender stalked drooping clusters.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Leaf Feel:
    Slippery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Deltoid
    Palmatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Palmately veined with 3 principal triangular lobes (sometimes 5 lobes with the two lower lobes being much smaller. Irregularly toothed, medium to dark green above, grayish beneath with hairy veins, petiole 2-4" long.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    Young bark is smooth and light gray. Older bark is scaly and darker with narrow ridges. Bark on branches is brown.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Buds are red
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Urban Conditions
    Wet Soil