Autumn Blaze Maple – Great Color Times Two!
Over the last 15 years, Autumn Blaze Maple has gained widespread popularity as a fast growing shade tree with excellent red fall color. Tolerant of a wide variety of soil types, and climates from frigid Zone 3 to a balmy zone 8. Autumn Blaze Maple rapidly develops a handsome rounded oval shape, and can provide welcome shade in just a few years, and blazing red fall color match it’s name.
While it’s fall color is a feast for the eyes, and quite long lasting, Autumn Blaze Maple also puts on a spring color show that lasts about 3 weeks! As sap begins to flow in late winter/early spring, the buds begin to swell and soon the beautiful burgundy red flowers emerge, pollen production begins and the flowers last for 10-12 days.
But that’s not all! Just as the lovely red flowers fade, the seeds begin to form and grow, and they are even more colorful than the flowers, and an almost identical bright burgundy red. This color show continues for another 10-14 days as the seeds of Autumn Blaze Maple mature, finally changing to a tan/parchment color just before they are displaced by spring winds.
Considerable seed is produced, but the volume is a bit less than the silver maple. If you really enjoy a colorful tree that sports beautiful red color in both spring and fall, Autumn Blaze Maple may be a good choice for you, if you can tolerate a seed crop produced each spring.
Autumn Blaze Maple also requires careful pruning to establish a strong branch architecture that will stand up well to summer thunderstorms and winter snow and ice storms. I recommend an aggressive pruning to remove steeply angled branches which tend to form weak
attachments to the tree trunk, every other year the first ten years after planting. After that a pruning every 4-5 years should be sufficient. Your investment in pruning will yield a tree that will delight the eye with wonderful red color both in spring and in fall for decades to come and weather storms gracefully.