Firefall Maple

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            Firefall Maple is a little known but excellent hybrid maple variety developed with the combined efforts of the University of Minnesota and The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  This homegrown maple is a close cousin of the immensely popular and well known Autumn Blaze Maple and actually has characteristics that some consider superior to Autumn Blaze.

            Firefall Maple grows quickly, tolerates a wide variety of soils, and withstands drought fairly well once established.  Both Autumn Blaze and Firefall Maple sport showy red flowering/pollinating structures early each spring.  Firefall Maple is a strictly male tree that produces no seed crop, while Autumn Blaze produces a noticeable crop of seed each late spring.  Many homeowners may prefer Firefall Maple for its lack of seed litter.

            Another fine attribute of Firefall Maple is the consistently excellent branch angles of attachment to the trunk, which produces very strong branches that resist wind, snow and ice damage extremely well.  This also means less need for pruning on Firefall Maple than Autumn Blaze Maple.

            While both Autumn Blaze and Firefall Maple produce gorgeous red/orange/burgundy fall color, Firefall Maple shows its color a bit earlier in the fall.   This can help the consistency of fall color from year to year.  Other hybrid maples that color later may “freeze green” if hit by an early hard frost before having a chance to develop their best fall color, while Firefall Maple is likely to attain its full glory of fall color by turning earlier.

            Firefall Maple reaches a height of 50-60 feet tall and spread of 30-40 feet wide.  The fairly restrained width may make Firefall Maple a good choice for spaces where a really wide spreading variety would overwhelm.  The pleasing upright, oval form of Firefall Maple makes for a handsome tree, and distinctive deeply lobed cut leaf foliage adds to the appeal of Firefall.

            If you give Firefall Maple a try I think you will be please with its many outstanding features.

11 thoughts on “Firefall Maple”

  1. Thank you for the great info. I just love reading your blog. You guys are the only place on the whole internet that has detailed information like this. Thanks!

  2. Hi Cathy, I would expect Firefall Maple to grow fine for you. They are rated zone 3-7, and the University of Minnesota Extension Service lists them specifically as, “Good for northern regions.” Their silver maple genetics inherently make them more adaptable to things like your heavier soils and higher soil pH.

  3. What about the Firefall’s roots? Another similar hybrid, the Celebration, is proposed to have less invasive root systems, and is less likely to heave up sidewalks etc. Can you comment on this feature also? I would have gone with a Celebration because of its branch strength, but I’ve read it produces mainly yellow leaves in the fall.

  4. Hi Jeff, It’s true that Celebration produces mainly yellow leaves in the fall. Shallow roots near the soil surface are responsible for water and air as well as stabilization of the tree. As these roots mature they can seemingly rise up. Really they are simply growing to a size that is visible above the soil surface. Faster growing trees like the hybrid maples, will have faster growing roots that will begin to appear sooner. Compared to slower growers like oaks. These shallow roots could potentially create problems with sidewalks or driveways as the trees mature if they have been place to close. I would expect Celebration Maple, would pose a similar problem down the road. Ideally we would accommodate the root structure of our selected trees. Our urban settings don’t always provide adequate space along the boulevard for trees like this long term.

  5. I just planted a firefall maple. Should I tie the tree and what is the best way to do this

  6. Hello Cheryl,

    Exciting! Firefall Maple make such a nice shade tree with great fall color. We recommend that you stake trees at the time of planting and keep them staked for one year. This gives the new roots an opportunity to become better established. I’ve attached a link to our planting instructions for you to reference. We recommend DeWitt Tree Staking Kits. The kit includes everything you need to secure your tree, just like our pros do! Enjoy your new tree!

    http://knechts.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/Knechts-2012-planting-care-guide.pdf

    Heidi Brosseau
    Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping
    507-645-5015 | heidi@knechts.net

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