One of the most common and widespread deciduous trees of eastern North America, the red maple is welcomed for its brilliant fall colors and pretty flowers that it produces in spring. It is extremely adaptable to a wide range of locales which make it an excellent ornamental tree.
Opposite, simple, 3 to 5 palmate lobes with serrated margin, sinuses relatively shallow; green above, whitened and sometimes glaucous or hairy beneath
Attractive but small, occur in hanging clusters, usually bright red but occasionally yellow, appear in early spring, usually before leaves
Clusters of 1/2- to 3/4-inch long samaras with slighly divergent wings, on long slender stems; light brown and often reddish
Twig/branchesReddish and lustrous with small lenticels, buds usually blunt, green or reddish with several loose scales usually present
On young trees, smooth and light gray, with age becomes darker and breaks up into long, fine scaly plates
In forest, trunk usually clear for some distance; in the open, trunk is shorter and the crown rounded
The red maple can grow 60 to 90 feet tall
Native to most states east of the Mississippi and spreads into the lower portions of Ontario
Medium to large deciduous tree
The tree turns to a bright red color in fall
Grows best in moderately well-drained, moist sites at low or intermediate elevations, but can adapt to a wide variety of soil conditions and types
Prefers full sun but is tolerant of shade
Silver maple, mountain maple, mapleleaf viburnum, sugar maple
Pests and Diseases
Many trunk rot fungi and stem diseases attack red maple, but leaf diseases are generally of minor importance. Many different insects also feed on red maple, but probably none of them kill healthy trees.
Red maple is also used for the production of maple syrup, although not as much as other maples.
The red maple is one of the first plants to flower in spring.