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Red Maple, Scarlet Maple 'Red Sunset'

Acer rubrum

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acer (AY-ser) (Info)
Species: rubrum (ROO-brum) (Info)
Cultivar: Red Sunset
Additional cultivar information:(aka Franksred, Sunset Red)



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:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

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:

Mountain View Acres, California

Champaign, Illinois

Hinsdale, Illinois

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Lancaster, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Nicholasville, Kentucky

Versailles, Kentucky

Brunswick, Missouri

Ozark, Missouri

Metuchen, New Jersey

Perry, Ohio

Bend, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 26, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This is the most commonly planted Red Maple cultivar for the last few decades in the northern USA. It's mother plant originally came from NY, PA, or NJ, as I was told by a nursery in Oregon, the major place where shade tree cultivars are produced by grafting of the buds and grown as saplings before sent on to other nurseries. I planted one in my front yard in 2002. My specimen I should have pruned when it was young to avoid it now having a forked trunk. My only criticism is that this and 'October glory' make up the majority of the species planted all across the northern US and that limits genetic diversity, which means less adaptability to any future problems that could come along. I would suggest producing many more local cultivars for each area and some planting of the straight species.


On Jul 21, 2012, anamg from San Jose, CA wrote:

So we purchased this maple as a 15-gal tree 10 years ago. We live in No California (San Jose) and it is hot in the summers and not very rainy so it is on a drip system for watering. It maybe is 12 feet tall and I am wondering if it is growing very slow. It drops beautifully in the Fall. Also how do I prune it -- we never have. The leaves are full on each limb but some limbs are too low on the truck and not filling it the tree as a whole. Thanks for any help provided.


On Nov 4, 2007, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

We've been at this house for a little over 10 years and my neighbor has 3 'Red Sunset' Maples in her yard. They were already planted before we built our house and the trees have gotten more beautiful over the years! I really like the fact that the one closest to us makes a great shade tree in the Summer! She and her DH live behind/next to us and she's a good neighbor and says that it's ok to take photos of her trees. 'Red Sunset' is gorgeous in the Fall with its beautiful colors!

Fall of 07, the colors started to turn early, then went all green (the colored leaves had already dropped). We've had an unusually long, very dry and very hot Summer that included parts of Spring and Fall.


On Mar 16, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Acer rubrum 'Red Sunset' (R) RED SUNSET RED MAPLE Dec (z4) (Cut)
A highly-rated and reliable red maple, this vigorous tree to 45'has a strong branching pattern & foliage which is lustrous green in summer & brilliant shades of red in fall. Sun/Med-damp


On Jan 13, 2007, Sherlock221 from Lancaster, KY wrote:

This is a lovely tree. We lined our driveway with them when we built our house 10 years ago. We bought very large trees, with trunks of about 3 inch diameter. When you plant trees that large, they start off slower in growth. Now, after 10 years, these are quite large trees and really lovely. The Red Sunset Maple has much smaller leaves than sugar maples or some other kinds. They are a rich green in summer and very dense, giving dense shade. They tend to start out looking awkward as youngsters, and then obtain a very round shape with maturity. Be patient with regard to the shape. They have a lovely rather smooth silvery bark. In fall they are a gorgeous true scarlet red; however we find that the leaves don't stay on the trees all that long as compared to sugar maples. The first ... read more