The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the University of Minnesota collaborated on the hybridization and selection of Firefall Maple, which I have grown to admire over the past ten years.
My enjoyment of Firefall Maple begins with its very early swelling of chubby reddish buds. Its a surefire sign that spring is indeed on the way. Firefall is a cross of a northern Minnesota Red Maple, and a cutleaf silver maple and as such grows quickly and shows awfully nice early fall colors mixing a bit of yellow, orange and burgundy with a strong dose of red. Last fall some maple trees missed showing their best fall color due to some fairly early hard frosts before their leaf stems had entered dormancy. Firefall Maples showed excellent fall color because they had gone dormant a week or ten days earlier.
Firefall Maple also develops nice strong branch attachments to the main trunk, which makes for a tree that weathers storms really well, and requires less pruning. An interesting feature of Firefall Maple is the slight waviness you will see in the branches, compared to the very straight branches found in many of the other hybrid maples such as Autumn Blaze, Matador and Celebration.
Another pleasing trait of Firefall Maple is the lovely cutleaf foliage which gives the tree a more interesting texture and look during the spring, summer and fall.
Firefall Maple will grow in a very wide range of soil types, making it incredibly versatile, even in pretty damp areas where other trees may struggle. Firefall is hardy from Zone 3 along the Canadian border all the way down to mid-continent states.
Plant a modest sized Firefall Maple and its vigorous growth will give you a handsome and colorful tree in just a few years time. I want to give a big shout out to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for bringing the very nice Firefall Hybrid Maple to our landscapes.