Autumn Flame Maple

Facts about the Autumn Flame Maple

            Fall brings many visual pleasures with multi-hued bushes and trees but one in particular, the Autumn Flame Maple, will captivate and amaze with its brilliant display of foliage.  Standing out with towering, vibrant beauty, this tree will be a show stopper in any landscape.

            Maple trees in general are a lovely addition to a fall landscape.  They are a frequent sight in yards and fields all across the United States, although they may vary slightly in appearance.  The leaves of most maple trees feature lobes along the edges; protrusions that match the veins running across the face of the leaf.  Varying according to the maple species, the leaves can range from very small at one inch in width to quite large, with a span of as much as 6 inches across.  Three distinct veins extend from the leaf stem to the tips of the outer lobes.

            The Autumn Flame Maple is one of the tallest varieties of this genre.  A fast growing tree, the maple reaches its fully mature height much sooner than most; gaining at a rate of about 4 feet each year.  A fully mature tree can reach 60 feet in height, and the trunk can measure up to five feet in diameter.  This domineering size itself can be quite a sight as the erect tree proudly stands well above others.  Maples do best in full sun, although dappled shade is tolerated.  The rounded form makes it an ideal choice for a shade tree, with low positioned branches providing an intimate resting area around its massive trunk.

            Red flowers appear on the same branches as newly emerging green leaves as a signal that spring has arrived; one of the first of the year to begin blooming.  Besides exhibiting a showy display, the nectar of the flowers provides nourishment for bees, butterflies, beetles and flies.  The numerous branches offer a haven to insect eating birds such as phoebes, warblers and other varieties.  As the flowers fade, the beginnings of a seed are evident in their place that will develop over the summer season.  Fully dressed in green foliage throughout the summer, the tree commands attention with its pleasing round form that can spread up to 50 feet in diameter.

            It is the fall season, however, that entices the autumn flame maple to truly shine.  Again a forerunner of the season, the foliage begins to transform in early autumn.  The dark green coat worn during the summer move aside as pinkish hues take over, only to be soon replaced by vibrant, fiery crimson, creating a flaming bush vision when the sun’s rays cast their glow upon it.  This is also the time that the tree casts its seeds in attempts to propagate.  The seeds are encased in a tough, fibrous material, flanked on both sides by “wings”; extensions of the fibrous material which serve to carry the seeds on the breeze.  Given flight by the breeze, the seeds spiral down to earth in a twirling fashion; lending them the nicknames of helicopter or whirlygigs by their movements.  Once grounded, the seeds will take advantage of the moist, warm soil and light coverings of the shedding leaves to provide the perfect atmosphere to take root.

            The attributes of the maple tree is not simply in its appearance.  Unlike many fast growing trees which tend to be weak, the wood of the maple is very strong.  It is often used for making furniture, cabinets, veneers and more; cherished for both its strength and beauty.

            A brilliant addition to a yard or landscape, the maple will bring many benefits:  lovely flowers, dense shade from the thick, green summer foliage and spectacular fall color.