Maple, Red "Summer Red"
The Summer Red Maple delivers on its name, providing vibrant crimson-hued foliage long before other trees realize it’s time for autumn. A resilient shade tree, its defining feature is its canopy of leaves, which defy traditional color transitions. All year long, the new leaves that emerge are red in color, eventually becoming light green and progressively darkening to deeper shades of green; in the autumn, those dark green leaves are stained red, while any newly emerged leaves fade into hues of coppery orange and yellow-gold, creating a stunning seasonal canvas. But the Summer Red Maple is well-rounded, too, pairing functionality with beauty. Resistant to diseases and effortlessly planted and tended to, this species provides thick shade that just becomes all the more lush and refreshing as the tree continues to steadily grow.
Like other maples, the deciduous Summer Red Maple is a colorful member of the Sapindaceae family; its binomial classification is “Acer Rubrum HOSR”, though you may also hear it called “Scarlet Maple”, “Trident Red Maple”, “Water Maple”, and “Soft Maple”. With a 3-9 hardiness zone rating, the Summer Red Maple is extremely adaptable to a spectrum of soils and climate conditions, enabling it to survive in practically every state of the nation. Its dense, broadly conical crown scrapes respectable heights of 35-40 ft. (though some such trees have been recorded to rear up to 100 ft.) with a respective 20-25 ft. spread. While the tree itself appreciates plenty of sunlight, its canopy provides abundant shelter and serves as a copious canvas for showcasing the tree’s exquisite year-round foliage.
Absolutely ornamental, the Summer Red Maple serves as a perfect stand-alone specimen that can alternatively be charmingly complemented by other species. It is tolerant of frost and partial paving, enabling its cultivation in a variety of settings (including urban areas), and is commended for its vigorous growth rate. As it ages, this species is characterized by a bark that seems to develop wrinkled furrows and darkens to gray-brown over time, with its massive trunk spreading out and tapering in stout branches.
But its most defining characteristic, of course, is its spellbinding blaze of autumnal colors, eye-catching from afar. There is something in the fiery glow of color that feels nearly magical. Indeed, there is a Moldovan folktale that speaks of a princess who fell in love with a shepherd who charmed her with a flute made of the wood of a Maple tree... once you catch a glimpse of this tree in autumn, the story seems quite believable.
This Tree's Zone: 3 to 9
Your Growing Zone:
|Foliage||Medium to dark green|
|Bloom Time||March to April|
|Shape||Rounded to oval crown|
|Sun||Full sun to part shade|
|Size||40 to 70 feet|
|Spread||30 to 50 feet|