Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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

8 vendors have this plant for sale.

11 members have or want this plant for trade.

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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:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

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10 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb 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 foliage from micronutrient deficiency in the Chicago area, check the soil pH. Sulfur and/or iron sulfate acidify soils. Unfortunately, the vast majority of this species is planted as either the cultivars of 'Red Sunset' or 'October Glory' that limits the genetic diversity, making it more susceptible to any future problems.

Positive Mike_W 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.

Positive MarcoPlo 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.

Neutral mamooth 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.

Positive cloverlymd 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.

Positive wren107 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.

Positive nlafrance3 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.

Positive escambiaguy 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.

Neutral Breezymeadow 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.

Positive TREEHUGR 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.

Positive melody 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.

Positive raven1 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.


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

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