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Maple, Red Acer rubrum

Red Maple - Acer rubrum
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Brings color to your landscape year-round. Green stems turn red in winter, new leaves are red-tinged, turning to green. Fall color is deep red or yellow. Flowers are also red. Fast growing and tolerant of many soils. Grows to 40' to 60', 40' spread. (zones 3-9)

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Zones 3 - 9 Zones 3 - 9
Hardiness Zones 3 - 9
The Red Maple can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Shade Tree Shade Tree
Type of tree
Shade Trees
40' - 60' High 40' - 60' High
Mature Height
The Red Maple grows to be 40' - 60' feet in height.
40' Spread 40' Spread
Mature Spread
The Red Maple has a spread of about 40' at full maturity.
Medium to Fast Growth Medium to Fast Growth
Growth Rate
This tree grows at a medium to fast growth rate. More about this.
Full Sun Full Sun
Sun
This maple does well in full sun, partial shade.
Various Soils Various Soils
Soil
The Red Maple grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam, well drained, wet, clay soils.
Oval Shape Oval Shape
Shape
This maple has oval, rounded, upright or erect shape.
Attributes

The Red Maple is one of the best named of all trees. There is something red in all seasons - buds in winter, flowers in spring, leafstalks in summer and brilliant foliage in autumn. This pageant of color, along with the tree's relatively fast growth and tolerance to a wide range of soils, makes it a widely planted favorite.

Description

Brings color to your landscape year-round. Green stems turn red in winter, new leaves are red-tinged, turning to green. Fall color is deep red or yellow. Flowers are also red. Fast growing and tolerant of many soils. Grows to 40' to 60', 40' spread. (zones 3-9) Consuming .03% of dry wilted leaves can cause toxicity to horses.

Wildlife Value

The fruits (samaras) provide food for many kinds of rodents, such as squirrels. Rabbits and deer eat the tender shoots and leaves of red maples.

History/Lore/Use

The Red Maple has a lot of claims to fame, including the greatest north-south range of any tree species living entirely in the eastern forests. (Newfoundland to southern Florida). It is also the state tree of Rhode Island. No one seems to know the whole story of why it was selected by the citizens of this smallest of states. In the 1890's a Rhode Island school commissioner gave students a list of trees and asked them to vote on their favorite. Red Maple won, but it was not until 1964 that it was officially adopted as the state tree - making Rhode Island one of last states in the nation to proclaim its tree. The selection may have been because Rhode Island is from the Dutch, meaning "red island." Since the state bird is the Rhode Island red hen, it makes sense that the tree would be one noted for red. The nation's largest Red Maple lies far to the south of Rhode Island in Great Smokey Mountains National Park. This tree was declared champion in 1997 by American Forests and is listed in the National Register of Big Trees as being 141 feet tall and just over 7 feet in diameter at 4-1/2 feet above ground.

Moisture

Prefers wet soil conditions. Slight drought tolerance.

Leaves

Opposite, 2-6 inches in length and width, 3-5 triangular lobes with v-shaped sinuses, single or double toothed margins. Emerging color is red tinged gradually changing to medium to dark green above, silvery gray with hairy veins beneath. Autumn color is yellow to red. The petiole (leafstem) is often red.

Flower Color

The dense red or sometimes yellow clusters of small flowers are a dependable harbinger of spring.

Bloom Time

Winter to spring.

Fruit Description

This tree produces twin seeds bound at their tips to a long, drooping stem. Attached to the seeds are wings up to 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide. The seeds ripen in late spring instead of fall like other maple trees.