Autumn blaze maple trees are a beautiful addition to any garden, but they can be difficult to grow and care for. These trees require regular watering and fertilizing, which is not always an easy task in the fall when it's already getting cold outside. They also need to be pruned regularly in order to maintain their shape.
And if you don't have the right kind of soil or sunlight, your autumn blaze maple tree might never even make it past its first year. This article will guide you on how to plant and care for autumn blaze maples so that you can enjoy these gorgeous trees every season. Keep Reading.
About Autumn Maple
Autumn blaze maple trees boast both beautiful fall foliage and sharply form, making them an ideal pick for landscaping large areas. The autumn blaze maple trees come from two popular parents. These include the red maple tree, also known as Acer rubrum and silver maple tree, also known as Acer saccharinum, native to North America.
Red maple or Acer rubrum gave autumn maple blaze a spectacular color in chilly winter. Silver maple blaze trees passed on their rapid growth rate that helps autumn maple blaze establish swiftly when transplanted to a new home. Their branch pattern is dense and ascending, and they spot a rounded or oval crown.
How to Grow Autumn Blaze Maple Tree
To help your autumn blaze maple tree grow in optimal conditions, give it a good start by planting the tree in the fall when the soil is moist, and the weather is cool. This will help maintain the soil moisture during this season. To plant your maple tree, dig a hole twice the width of your autumn blaze maple tree's root ball.
The depth of the hole should be a few inches deeper than the root ball. Keep the bottom soil firm so the tree can remain stable. With the fall's shorter days and longer nights, your newly planted tree's roots can flourish over winter and prepare themselves for the upcoming growing season.
Autumn Blaze Maple Care
Like many landscape trees, autumn blaze maple trees need little care. You must keep the soil around their roots moist while they're still young. These trees only need pruning every three to five years in late spring or early summer.
Autumn blaze maple trees can function in your landscape as fast-growing shade trees and as specimens highly valued for their fall color. They're also pollution tolerant, an important factor to consider if you'll be growing them along a street in a busy neighborhood.
As with other trees suitable for urban areas, autumn blaze maple trees can adapt to a wide range of soil conditions. These large trees can also suffer from structural weakness. Autumn blaze maple trees may crack easily at branch unions during strong storms, leading to the loss of branches.
On the downside, the autumn blaze maple tree is shallow-rooted, so over time, the roots may stick up out of your lawn.
Because autumn blaze maple trees are one of the biggest plants in the landscape, it's rare that other varieties will shade them. The autumn blaze maple tree will appreciate full sunlight but can also thrive well in partial shade, especially if planted in warm climates. However, they produce the best autumn color in full sun.
Although autumn blaze maple trees are very adaptable, they still have their preferences. They tend to grow best in well drained soil. Although they can tolerate poor soil due to their parent's hardy characteristics, the more moist and fertile soil their soil blend is, the more your maple tree will thrive.
High alkaline soil can also cause autumn blaze maple to turn red in the summer. Make sure you test the soil pH to maintain it below 7 and use the organic method to increase iron in the soil.
When planting your tree, dig a hole that's three to five times as big as your tree's root ball and make sure the top of your tree's root ball is even with the soil line. Ensure you plant your tree at least 15 to 20 feet away from your home to avoid any damage to your foundation from its expansive roots.
When your autumn blaze maple tree is young, it will need a lot of water to help it get established. Keep the soil evenly moist through their root zones in the first year, and once established, your tree will be drought tolerant and will do fine with whatever rainfall your location provides.
If you notice your leaves turning brown or falling from the tree prematurely, that could be a sign that your tree isn't getting enough water. So, provide the tree with regular watering and be sure to keep it moist through its root zone.
Making Compost or Fertilizing Autumn Blaze Maple Tree
You shouldn't fertilize your newly planted autumn blaze until after its first growing season. Fertilize your autumn blaze maple tree with high nitrogen fertilizer in early spring or fall from the second year. You can also learn how to make compost at home that you can use for these trees.
Temperature and Humidity
The autumn blaze maple tree can handle almost anything you throw at it, including a range of temperatures, from cold freezing to high heat and humidity. This high adaptability is thanks to its parent trees, the red and silver maple. So you don't have to worry about weather conditions when it comes to your maple tree.
Pruning Autumn Blaze Maple Tree
The best time for pruning your autumn blaze maple tree is in late winter or early spring when the tree is dormant. Regular pruning will help the plant grow faster and become more beautiful. Prune the tree every year, especially if it's a problem with too much shade from the leaves or crowded branches.
Maple Tree Varieties
Maple trees are among the most popular landscape trees because of their splendid fall foliage. Be careful when selecting a maple because not all have red leaves in the fall, and some are considered invasive. Here are the popular cultivars, hybrids and brands of maple trees that will give you the fall color you're craving for:
Big Leaf Maple or Acer Macrophyllum
This is the largest species of freeman maple and can grow up to 100 feet tall with a 50-foot spread. It has the longest leaves in the maple family, measuring between eight to twelve inches long. Its fall colors are yellow or yellow-orange foliage.
Amur Maple or Acer Ginnala
Amur maple is a small- to medium-sized tree. It can reach 10 feet in height with an 8-foot spread. The leaves are five inches wide and five inches long and have red fall colors.
This varietal also has a columnar shape. It is small and slender and reaches 20 feet in height with a spread of 10 to 15 feet. Its leaves are five inches long and three inches wide. The fall color for this tree is orange or red foliage.
Armstrong Golden Maple
This maple tree has a rounded shape and reaches a height of 30 feet. It is semi-deciduous, meaning it does not lose all of its leaves in the autumn, but will lose most or some of them. Its fall color is yellow foliage. It can grow taller than autumn blaze maple but has a narrower spread, giving it a distinctly columnar shape.
Autumn Blaze Maple and October Glory
October glory maple is the same size when compared to autumn blaze maple, but October glory maple has faster growth with red flowers. Autumn blaze maple is also drought tolerant, while October glory has its limits.
Common Pests and Diseases
Autumn blaze maple tree problems include chlorosis, two unique types of fungal diseases, tar spots and leap spots which can harm the maple tree. If you notice your plant leaves have started to acquire brown spots, that's a sign of a leaf spot disease. Fortunately, you can rectify this by spraying fungicide on the tree.
Mites and flathead tree borers can also cause the leaves on your maple tree to become damaged. The mites can be dealt with by spraying your plant with a suitable insecticide, but this won't work for the flathead borers. Instead, you'll need to remove an inch or so of bark from around where they are entering and prevent them from boring into it again.
If you notice any signs of infestations like brown spots on the leaves or lesions on the trunk or branches, treat the tree with an insecticide until you are sure that the infestation is gone.
FAQs on Growing and Caring for Autumn Blaze Maple Trees
Is autumn blaze a sugar maple?
No, it's not. Autumn blaze maple tree is a hybrid of Acer saccharinum and Acer rubrum, while the scientific name of sugar maple is Acer saccharum, making its name to be similar to silver maple.
How long do autumn blaze maple trees live?
It depends on the climate as this tree can live longer in cold climates and nearby rivers where it gets sufficient water. Autumn blaze lives 4-7 years, and you'll see its growth about 9-12 feet in just four years.
Final Thought on Growing and Caring for Autumn Blaze Maple Trees
As you can see, blaze maple is a beautiful tree that offers the best of both worlds. You get all the benefits that come with growing trees while also enjoying its awesome pigmentation year-round.