Red Maple

Scientific name: Acer rubrum

Red maple trees are medium-sized, deciduous trees native to eastern North America. Amazingly, red maples have the greatest north–south geographic range of any tree species living entirely in the Eastern forests. They typically grow at a moderate to fast rate, reaching 40-60 ft tall and 30-50 ft wide with a rounded, oval crown. The largest red maple in the US lives in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is 141 ft tall! These trees typically grow in wet bottomland, river floodplains, and wet woods. The specific epithet, rubrum, means red and refers to the red flowers in dense clusters in spring before leaves appear, red fruit (initially red, two-winged samara), red stems, twigs, and buds, and excel-lent orange-red fall color. The fruit, leaves, and shoots provide important food for wildlife. It is tolerant of wet soil and air pollution. Red maples are excellent for the lawn, on streets, in rain gardens or parks. They have a shallow, flattened root system that may buckle nearby sidewalks or driveways, so be careful when planting near pavement. They grow best in full sun but tolerate partial shade. They grow in plant hardiness zones 3-9.


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