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How about Autumn Blaze maple?

Autumn Blaze Maple Tree

The autumn blaze maple tree is a unique combination of good traits from the red maple and silver maple. The qualities mixed by the autumn blaze maple tree are brilliant orange-red color in the fall, dense and healthy branching, and enhanced growth that protects from insects and disease. They are known for their unexcelled speed of growth. The autumn blaze maple tree can also live in a variety of climates, ranging from the frigid cold of zone three, to the humid south of zone eight.

The autumn blaze maple tree will grow to fifty or sixty feet tall and have a mature spread of thirty to forty feet. They are not a susceptible to storm damage as the silver maple, as they received stronger wood from their red maple parent. The autumn blaze maple tree also has the ability to grow in most soil conditions. Named Urban Tree of the Year in 2003, the autumn blaze maple tree is patented by the late Glenn Jeffers of north central Ohio.

Northwood Red Maple from the U of M is also a possibility. They have introduced two red maples. Northwood and Autumn Spire.


A very hardy selection of the popular red maple from northern Minnesota, this shapely shade tree features brilliant red fall color and showy red flowers along the branches in early spring; intolerant of alkaline soils

Ornamental Features:

Northwood Red Maple has green foliage which emerges red in spring. The lobed leaves turn an outstanding red in the fall. It features showy red flowers along the branches in early spring before the leaves. It produces red samaras in late spring. The furrowed silver bark and brick red branches add an interesting dimension to the landscape.

Landscape Attributes:

Northwood Red Maple is a deciduous tree with a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and should only be pruned in summer after the leaves have fully developed, as it may 'bleed' sap if pruned in late winter or early spring. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Northwood Red Maple is recommended for the following landscape applications;



Plant Characteristics:

Northwood Red Maple will grow to be about 50 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 40 feet. It has a high canopy with a typical clearance of 7 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 80 years or more.

This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution.

This is a selection of a native North American species.

Check out http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/components/7564_04.html

for other choices.

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Autumn Blaze is a great choice, best color will still come from heavier wetter soils though. Green Mountain maple is a faster growing sugar variety with good fall color, nowhere near as fast as the Autumn Blaze though, but will not have the shallow roots system and cause bare spots and surfacing roots underneath the growing canopy. Norway maples will be faster growing than the sugar and true reds like the Northwood, will have relatively pest free thick glossy green summer leaves, but only a golden fall color. Probably would stay away from the once popular ash varieties till the bug blows over. There are some ornamental trees like crabs and Mountain ash, but not as good for shade and a little messier. Another tree to look at would be the Whitespire purple birch. It has a nice purple leaf year round, is rather fast growing, but can be rather spindly and clump form is best.

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One thing they caution about autumn blaze is that is doesn't like alkaline soil. I don't think that is a problem in Duluth area, is it?

That Northwood red maple is a pretty tree from the pictures.


Autumn Blaze




A good northwoods maple picture was a little hard to find. These aren't great.

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Typically soils in that area of the state tend to run on the acid side. One other tree that could be considered would be a littleleaf linden. Relatively fast growth, it has golden yellow foliage on it in the fall. Fantastic bee tree when it flowers. It's a tree that we've always talked about planting but haven't found the right place for it. Am thinking the one storm damaged ash tree might be a good one to remove and replace. And given the early fall harvest, it's possible. Lindens can handle slightly alkaline soils for those who may be looking for a tree with that quality. Some of our subsoils in areas of SC MN tend to have a high pH and it becomes more prevalent as we move west in MN. One reason we see fewer red and pin oaks as one heads that direction.

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There are a lot of those lindens (relative of basswood) around Rochester. They are a pretty nice tree. I was thinking of one if the big old green ash in my front yard, which I plan on having treated, doesn't survive the coming emerald ash borer apocalypse.

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I just came up with another when I went for a walk. There are a couple of people who have clumps of what I am pretty sure is Amur Maple. It is sort of short, maybe 20 feet and is a brilliant red.


The Minnesota DNR considers Amur Maple an invasive species, and suggests Mountain Maple instead


BTW my autumn blaze is just starting to turn.

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I have an Amur Maple right next to my house. It was here when we bought the house a couple years ago. From what I've read, it will grow a foot per year and is pretty darned hardy. It can be a tree or a bush, depending on what you do with it. I'm retaining the rounded top and trimming it to resemble a large bush. As mentioned, it will grow to a height of about 20 ft. and will have a spread similar. Mine looks gorgeous in the fall and the birds flock to it like a magnet. Some of my nicest bird photos have come from that tree in the fall.

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