Red Maple

Acer rubrum


This is a fast-growing, upright maple with red-maroon leaf color in the fall, not necessarily bright. Red Maples are large trees that form a canopy with upward-reaching branches. They are called Red Maples not for their fall color but for their small red flowers in the spring and red leaf stems. There are many cultivated varieties that have better fall color; choosing a Red Maple in the fall lets you see the color.


Red maples may attract aphids in the spring; avoiding spring application of fertilizer can help. The aphids do not do too much damage, but they can cause honeydew to fall from the tree in a sticky rain.


Red Maples prefer well drained soil that is kept moist, like a lawn. They are not suited to low-water situations, where they do poorly.


Note that any tree grown in a lawn may develop surface roots unless irrigation is properly managed. Tree roots need both air and water in the root zone. Lawns are frequently overwatered, resulting in water-logged soil with no air in the root zone. Check your tree’s root zone to see if it is water-logged or too dry. The best method is to dig a small hole about 12 inches deep and look at the soil: if it is bone dry, there is not enough water; if it is muddy, there is too much water; if it is moist like a cake, it is just right. Alternatively, you can use an inexpensive moisture meter from your nursery or hardware store and look for a “moist” reading.

Red Maple in Fall

Height: 40 to 50 feet
Spread: 30 to 40 feet
Growth Rate: moderate to fast

Irrigation needed: medium to high water
Fall Color: red, not always showy
Flowers:  very small red flowers in spring
Seeds/Fruit: winged seeds

Planting Distances
Front of green utility box: 8 feet
Building, paving, swimming pool: 20 feet
Fence, underground utilities: 6 feet
Overhead, high voltage lines: 30 feet

Red Maple
Young Red Maple