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Plant of the Week Acer rubrum--Red Maple, Swamp Maple Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7 Height: 50 ft Spread: 40 ft Form: upright Type: deciduous tree Annual Growth Rate: 12 to 18 inches Comments: This tree is preferred over Silver Maple or Boxelder when a fast-growing maple is needed. Red Maple is useful in wet places and compacted soil but is susceptible to manganese deficiency in high pH soils. The outstanding ornamental characteristic of Red Maple is red fall color. It is one of the first trees to develop fall color in autumn. The red flowers are numerous but small, and on individual trees can be quite ornamental. The smooth gray bark is considered ornamental. Cultivars: In recent years trees have been propagated by softwood cutting to overcome graft incompatibilities that were a problem in the past. The cultivars listed as A. X Freemanii are hybrids between A. rubrum and A. saccharinum. 'Armstrong'(A. x freemanii) - A fast-growing, narrow tree with ascending branches often used for street planting. Autumn Fantasy TM (Acer x freemanii 'DTR 102') - Bright red fall color on plants 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide. 'Autumn Flame' - One of the most reliable and first Red Maples to color in the fall. The tree grows more slowly and has smaller leaves than most other cultivars. 'Autumn Radiance' - A rounded tree that develops fall color two weeks earlier than October Glory(R) and Red Sunset(R). 'Autumn Spire' - A northern selection from a Minnesota seed source with an oval form, excellent hardiness and red fall color. 'Bowhall' - A narrow tree useful as a street tree. 'Celzam' (Celebration(R))(A. x freemanii) - A compact, pyramidal, seedless tree with red and yellow fall color. The tree reaches a height and spread of 15 feet and may be clipped for use as hedge. 'Columnare' - The narrowest Red Maple with a stiffly fastigiate growth habit. 'Embers' - A rounded tree with good fall color. 'Fairview Flame TM' - A vigorous tree reaching a height of 50 feet, red foliage. 'Firzam' (Fireball TM) - A symmetrical, narrow pyramid turning red and yellow in the fall. Reaches a height of 45 feet with a spread of 30 feet. 'Franksred' (Red Sunset(R)) - Developed by Frank Schmidt, Jr., this is a vigorous tree with a symmetrical branching pattern. The foliage is red and orange-red in the fall. 'Jeffersred' (Autumn Blaze(R)) - The dense, oval crown consists of ascending branches. The orange-red fall color is combined with drought tolerance. 'Karpick' - Narrow when young, becoming oval with age, another Red Maple useful as a street tree. 'Landsburg' (Firedance Maple TM) - A selection from the Brainerd area in Northern Minnesota. This is a medium size tree with good branching habit, early fall color and cold tolerance. 'Marmo' (A. x freemanii) - An upright, oval tree with a strong central leader. The fall color is a blend of scarlet and maroon with some green. This seedless tree is reported to have better branch structure and strength than silver maple. 'Morgan' (A. x freemanii) - An extremely vigorous cultivar that was selected at Macdonald College in Quebec. It colors well even in mild climates. Northwood(R) - A hardy cultivar selected from a northern Minnesota seed source by the University of Minnesota. It has a straight trunk and good branch angles but does not produce fall color as reliably as some other red maples. October Glory(R) - A round-headed selection that is the last of the cultivars to color in the fall. It seems to have less cold tolerance than other cultivars and is best used in areas with mild winters and hot summers. 'Olson' (Northfire Maple TM) - A selection made in Brainerd, Minnesota with good branching habit and brilliant, early fall color. 'Scarsen' (Scarlet Sentinel TM)(A. x freemanii.) - An upright branch (Vis. 20) pattern makes the tree suitable for use in street lawns or parking areas. The leaves hold up well in summer heat. 'Schlesingeri' - The tree forms a broad vase shaped crown. The fall color is pastel red rather than the bright red of other cultivars.