The Autumn Flame Maple tree is a beautiful maple tree that is quick growing and one of the first trees to turn in the fall. If you're looking for a new tree for your landscape, this maple is a good choice.
About the Autumn Flame Maple
Autumn Flame Maple trees are a patented variety of tree with the scientific name Acer rubrum. Its leaves are the classic lobed maple shape and are bright green with a hint of scarlet in the spring and summer, turning to a brilliant red early in the fall. Some trees produce yellow leaves as well.
This tree is most prized for its beautiful leaves of course, but there are other benefits as well, namely that it is rather quick growing. It can grow up to four feet in a year. At maturity, the tree can reach 40 to 60 feet tall and 24 to 40 feet wide, with a trunk as large as three to five feet around. This giant is a wonderful choice for a shade tree that can bring abundant beauty to your yard as it is growing.
Its branches start relatively low to the ground and form a nice round shape when the tree is mature. While hardy in growing zones 4 through 9, there have been some reports of the trees dying in very harsh winters even within those zones. Autumn Flames also seem to grow a little smaller at the warm end of the climate zone, unless they are near a stream or get a steady supply of water in some other way.
Like other maples, this one does best in full sun to very light shade, but it doesn't do well if it is very hot and dry. Maples need moisture to produce the vibrant colors in the fall, so watering may be necessary for optimum growth and leaf color if you live in a dry climate.
Red flowers form on these trees in the spring when the new leaves are emerging, giving you a true sign that spring has arrived.
While tolerant of many soil conditions, they do best in acidic, well-drained soil. However, they are not tolerant of salty soil.
Negatives Regarding the Autumn Flame
There are many positive features of this tree: it grows almost everywhere in the United States and is large and beautiful. It really should be more popular than it is.
However, there are a few potential drawbacks to the Autumn Flame Maple. One is those low-hanging branches: you may have to keep the tree pruned in order to be able to walk underneath it.
Additionally, the bark on these trees is relatively brittle and can be damaged easily by running into the tree with a lawn mower or other piece of yard equipment. Also, the surface roots of this maple cannot only make mowing around it difficult, but the roots can break up sidewalks and driveways, as with other maple varieties.
As mentioned earlier, in southern climates this maple may need regular watering or irrigation for best fall color and to support the health of the tree.
Autumn Flames are susceptible to verticillium wilt and aphid infestation and can have other problems such as scales, borers and scorch.
Still, properly cared for and sited, these beautiful maples are a sound investment and a good tree to have in your yard. They are an excellent choice for many locations, from near the street or in a parking lot to the middle of your yard for a shade tree.