Discover Different Types of Maple Trees

It’s tough to beat the beauty of maple trees. Discover different types of maples you can grow, including ones for small spaces, fall color and year-round interest.

Photo By: ChicagoBotanicGarden.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: MtCubaCenter.org

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Photo By: BaileyNurseries.com

Find Your Favorite Maple

The maple tree family is a large one, and it includes trees of all shapes and sizes. From broad and spreading Norway maples, to columnar red maples, to short and shrubby 'Emerald Elf’ amur maple, you can find a maple to fit any planting need. Japanese maples are probably the best-known members of the family, but we’re inviting you to meet other members of the clan. If you’re in the market for a tree, consider a maple. You won’t be disappointed.

Sugar Maple

Sugar maples (Acer saccharum) are native trees, making up much of the U.S. hardwood forest along the East Coast. As the name suggests, this is the maple that is tapped to release sap, which can be boiled down to make maple syrup. In addition to their sweet sap, sugar maples are famous for their stunning fall color. This maple makes a good shade tree. If planted in a row, it can form an elegant allee and an effective windbreak. This grouping shows Fall Fiesta sugar maple (Acer saccharum 'Bailsta'), which boasts strong, rapid growth and a rounded form. Leaves resist summer heat, wind and drought. Sugar maple trees grow 60' to 75' tall and up to 30' to 40' wide. Hardy in Zones 3-8.

Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple

The famous fall color of New England owes its reputation to sugar maples (Acer saccharum). Fall Fiesta sugar maple was introduced in 1987. Its fall color features more oranges and reds than other sugar maples. This selection also boasts strong winter hardiness, with a trunk that’s resistant to sunscald and frost cracks, conditions that can occur during cold winters. Give trees a sunny spot in moist, well-drained soil that’s slightly acidic. Trees grow 50' to 75' tall and up to 50' wide. Hardy in Zones 3-7.

‘Autumn Spire’ Red Maple

Red maple (Acer rubrum) is beloved for its red flowers that blanket the tree in spring, opening before leaves appear. Summer leaf color is a steady green. Autumn triggers a color show with varying shades of red, from brilliant to deep burgundy. 'Autumn Spire' red maple is an upright, narrow accent tree that embodies the traditional beauty of red maple in a size that fits any yard. Trees grow 50' tall and 20' to 25' wide. They’re drought tolerant once established and also withstand flooding. Developed by the University of Minnesota, this maple holds its own where winter thermometer readings linger below zero. Expect trees to live 80 to 100 years. Hardy in Zones 3-6.

Scarlet Jewell Red Maple

Bring on the fall show two weeks sooner by adding Scarlet Jewell red maple (Acer rubrum 'Bailcraig') to your yard. This beauty offers the classic, full shape of a red maple coupled with an early start to fall color. Give Scarlet Jewell a spot in full sun with moist, well-drained soil on the acidic side. Trees grow 70' tall and 30' wide. Hardy in Zones 3-7.

Striped Maple

A native maple, Pennsylvania striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum) thrives in hardwood forests as an understory plant, a plant that grows best in the shade of tall trees. In your own yard, tuck striped maple into a spot with light to full shade. As the name hints, the bark on this maple features white stripes. Leaves have a trio of strongly pointed lobes, which give rise to another common name: goosefoot maple. This plant is also known as moosewood, because it’s a favorite food of moose (and deer). Fall color is vibrant yellow. Striped maple is the perfect addition to native planting designs or a wildlife garden. It thrives in moist, well-drained soil on the acidic side. Trees grow 15' to 25' tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 3-7.

Hot Wings Maple

If you don’t have room for a 50' to 100' tree, check out Hot Wings maple. It’s a type of tartarian maple (Acer tartaricum 'GarAnn’) discovered and developed in Colorado, which means it tolerates dry, alkaline conditions. Trees open typical small, yellow maple flowers in spring after leaves appear. Flowers fade to form bright red seeds (helicopters) in summer, which contrast brilliantly with the green leaves. Fall color features shades of orange-red and yellow. This is more of a spreading maple that can be grown as a shrub or small tree. Expect trees to grow 20' to 25' tall and 18' to 20' wide in ideal conditions. At higher elevations, Hot Wings grows 15' to 18' tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 3-10.

Matador Maple

First Editions Matador maple is a type of freeman maple (Acer x freemanii 'Bailston’). The freeman maple is actually a hybrid of a red maple (Acer rubrum) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum). It displays the best of both parents: fast growth but with a solid structure, good fall color and adaptability. Matador maple unfurls bright green leaves in spring that turn deep red in autumn. Leaves hang on the tree longer than other freeman maple varieties, providing a long show of fall color. This is an adaptable tree, growing well on a home lawn or in an urban setting. Expect trees to grow 40' to 45' tall and 20' to 40' wide in ideal conditions. Hardy in Zones 4-7.

Apollo Maple

Just because you have a small yard doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fall color of a sugar maple. Look for this beauty: Apollo maple (Acer saccharum 'Barrett Cole’). Apollo grows tall but not wide, making it the perfect choice for small urban yards or a side yard garden. The tree forms a pillar covered in classic green maple leaves all season long that fade to blazing hues of orange, gold and red in fall. This maple makes a good choice for a street planting or along a driveway, where its branches won’t block the view. Trees grow at least 25' tall and just 10' wide. Hardy in Zones 4-7.

‘Embers’ Amur Maple

A good xeriscape plant, 'Embers' amur maple (Acer ginnala 'Embers’) turns fall into a season of blazing reds. Amur maple is easy to grow and tough as nails, withstanding hard winters with ease. Seeds form in summer and are a bright red that contrasts strikingly with the green leaves. Trees grow 15' to 20' tall and up to 15' wide. Hardy in Zones 3-7. Amur maple is considered invasive in some areas. Check with your local extension office before planting this tree.

Variegated Norway Maple

For a good shade tree, it’s tough to beat Norway maple, unless you’re planting variegated Norway maple (Acer platanoides 'Variegatum’). The green leaves with white edges brighten the landscape all season long. In the fall, leaves shift to gold tones. Norway maple tolerates urban pollutants, but avoid planting it near driveways or sidewalks, because shallow roots can lift concrete. Trees grow 50' to 60' tall and 40' to 50' wide. Hardy in Zones 4-7.

Norway Maple

Norway maple (Acer platanoides) is the ultimate shade tree, forming a dense crown thanks to leaves that grow up to 7" across. In fall, leaves shift to hues of yellow and gold. Give it plenty of space, because it spreads up to 50'. The form of this maple is a classic lollipop shape — a strong, straight trunk topped with a rounded leaf canopy. Norway maple tolerates urban conditions, but avoid planting it near driveways or sidewalks, because shallow roots can lift concrete. Trees grow 50' to 60' tall and 40' to 50' wide. Hardy in Zones 4-7.

Jade Patina Hedge Maple

Hedge maple is a versatile tree. Use it alone as a pretty shade tree, or arrange plants side by side to form a hedge. First Editions Jade Patina hedge maple (Acer campestre 'Baillee’) has an unusual leaf form that’s eye-catching. Jade Patina withstands pruning well and tolerates dry soils and salt, which makes it a good choice for planting beside roads or driveways. Fall color is a yellow shade. Trees grow 20' to 35' tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 5-7.

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