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Red Maple, Scarlet Maple

Acer rubrum

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acer (AY-ser) (Info)
Species: rubrum (ROO-brum) (Info)
Synonym:Acer rubrum var. rubrum
Synonym:Acer rubrum var. tomentosum
Synonym:Acer stenocarpum
Synonym:Rufacer rubrum
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Atmore, Alabama

Boca Raton, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)

Kissimmee, Florida

Lake City, Florida

Miami, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Tampa, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Cordele, Georgia

Hinesville, Georgia

Boise, Idaho

Hinsdale, Illinois

Indianapolis, Indiana

Kansas City, Kansas

Benton, Kentucky

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Smiths Grove, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Franklinton, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Laurel, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Lawrence, Massachusetts

Sterling, Massachusetts

Alpena, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lucedale, Mississippi

Lincoln, Nebraska

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Highlands, North Carolina

Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Bucyrus, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

Lebanon, Ohio

Ada, Oklahoma

Greater Sudbury, Ontario

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Converse, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Katy, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas

Blacksburg, Virginia

Walkerton, Virginia

Colville, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 24, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a handsome and common tree. Lots of wild trees all over the place in southeast PA and the mid-Atlantic. It is planted a lot in northern Illinois and it does not grow wild there, but stops in the slightly acid soils of Indiana. Mostly of the trees planted in northern IL are the cultivars that ensure red autumn color, for the straight species usually has yellow fall color in rich silty or clay soils and usually red in sandy, less fertile soils as in New England. I'm not sure where the breaking point is of when the tree gets magnesium and other micronutrient defiency in alkaline soils. I know it does well in pH 6.9 and 7.0. Many spots in northern Illinois and other Midwestern parts have alkaline soils of usually pH 7.0 to 7.5, but can get to 8.5 in spots. I've seen some get yellowed fol... read more


On Aug 30, 2012, Mike_W from Sterling, MA wrote:

Red Maples grow all over, here in Massachusetts. One of the most common native trees you can see. We have several of them growing along the western edge of our property and they look excellent year round. A couple years ago I dug up some little seedlings from my garden bed as I was weeding and potted them so I could have more. Now they are about 3 feet tall and I was able to plant them with the others in the western edge of the yard to fill in the gaps.

Some may consider them a pain as they do release thousands of "helicopter" seeds that sprout EVERYWHERE in the lawn. However, a simple mowing of the lawn takes care of that.


On Apr 19, 2012, MarcoPlo from Sudbury , ON (Zone 4b) wrote:

Fantastic little tree! Amazing colour, from the twigs, to the flowers, to the seeds, to the leaves. Cannot wait till mine grows tall! It has grown a lot in just a few years, nearly a foot per year. Buds faster when kept warm I find.


On Jun 9, 2010, mamooth from Indianapolis, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:

Red Maples can develop chlorosis (yellow leaves and stunted growth) due to a manganese deficiency, which in turn is due to soil which is too alkaline or too wet. While an alternate name for this tree is "swamp maple", that's a misnomer, because they don't do well in wet areas.

To save yellowed trees, add granulated sulfur to make the soil less alkaline, and add more manganese to the soil. Five pound bags of sulfur are available at garden stores, while agricultural supply stores sell bigger bags. Manganese sulfate powder is available from several sources on Ebay, or palm tree fertilizer will have manganese. I've used this sulfur and manganese treatment to green up two red maples that were badly yellowed.


On Sep 7, 2009, cloverlymd from Silver Spring, MD wrote:

Often brittle and sometimes short-lived, and like most maples it throws hundreds of seedlings. That said, it's one of the more desirable maples for the mid-Atlantic. The fall color rivals that of the sugar maple, and the shade is not so dense. One of its more striking effects is that the twigs and buds turn red in the spring just before the tiny red flowers emerge.


On May 28, 2008, wren107 from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

It grows wild here in north Florida. It is th 2nd plant on my spring watch some times blooming as early as Jan. Also some of the only fall color we have.


On May 23, 2008, nlafrance3 from Edmonton, AB (Zone 4a) wrote:

This is a lovely large tree that grows well into zone3a. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and its slowly becoming a more popular tree. Originally it was not planted here because of the alkaline soil that is normal of this region. Newer strains are more tolerant and will do well in areas that aren't extremely alkaline. There are also crosses of silver and red maple that don't mind the soil at all. This tree will grow to about 40 feet tall in my region.


On Apr 8, 2005, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Red Maples are only good when they have a central leader, so corrective pruning when young is a must. They often have shallow roots that are easily injured by mowers or just by walking on them. Keeping a large circle of mulch around the base is a good idea. Fall color varies with seedlings, some are bright red and some are muted yellow.


On Dec 6, 2004, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

While this is definitely a lovely tree (I have several gorgeous specimens on my property here in VA), I do wish to inform those of you who keep any livestock - horses in particular - that the leaves, particularly when windfallen & wilted, can be fatally toxic.


On Dec 5, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is probably the #1 most popular landscape tree! Where are all the comments and photographs???!!!

One of my all time favorites. It's a Florida native too for all you Florida residents... These are naturally occuring as far south as Fort Lauderdale. I can't say a single bad thing about them.

This year, the majority of my maples did not have that great of a color display however there were a couple that not only had excellent color, it lasted a month or longer. Some trees, the color starts out a salmon color or an orange and turned to a fire engine red. Some trees it started out orange and then to brown and fell off the tree.

Very resiliant here in FL and withstood the hurricanes like only a native would.


On Nov 11, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

A Maple that is primarily seen in the Midwest and Northern areas, although it can survive in the South also.

The trunk is a paler gray than some of the other Maples and the leaves are mostly three lobed and whitish underneath.

The red blooms are a welcome sight in Early Spring, as it is one of the first trees to show signs of life. The flowers are at the twig ends in small, drooping, hanging clusters.


On Jun 13, 2004, raven1 from Tampa, FL wrote:

I have two huge Red Maples In my front yard that I have cared for since they were babies. Every year one the(shorter) maple has 1000's of seed in the spring. they are like insect wings or what we call hellicopters. Only once has the seeds germinated and sprouted up I have dug up some seedlings 10 to be exact and cared for them and now they sre in the ground. One problem I have noticed is that for some reason the leaves turn brown and new growth appears and I do not know why this happens to some but not all of the trees if there is an expert out there that can shed some light on this smalll problem iy would be helpful to my learning experince.