Ontario's Tree Atlas: Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Leaf; Photo: Ladd Arboretum Bark; Photo: Daniel Tigner,
Canadian Forest Tree Essences
Buds; Photo: Daniel Tigner,
Canadian Forest Tree Essences
Tree; Photo: iStockPhoto.com
Did you know?
It’s easy to recognize the red maple in the autumn when its leaves turn a beautiful bright red.

The red maple is found in central and southern Ontario, in the Great Lakes/St Lawrence region.  It’s a medium-sized tree that can grow up to 25 metres tall, with a trunk that’s 60 centimetres in diameter. 


The red maple’s leaves are 5 to 15 centimetres long and light green on top and paler underneath.  Its bark is smooth and light gray when the tree is young, turning greyish-brown, scaly and ridged as the tree gets older.


The seeds of the red maple are contained in ‘keys’ that float down from the tree’s branches in the early summer. 


Size:  25 metres tall, trunk 60 centimetres in diameter
Moisture:  Grows best in moist soil, but can tolerate different moisture levels
Shade:  Tolerates some shade. 
Soil: Grows in a variety of soils


Planting tips:  The red maple is a tall, straight tree in the forest, but in the open it tends to divide its main stem several times, often making it susceptible to breaking later in life. This is a good, fast-growing shade tree, but pruning and maintenance may be needed to keep its form strong if it is shading your house.  Its roots are shallow, but they can spread widely, so make sure you plant your red maple where it will have room to grow. More tips...


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