Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tree Thursday - Red Maple

Okay, it’s fall and even though it doesn’t really happen in South Florida, most of us are thinking of the leaf color up north so here’s a tree that can bring it to you in South Florida (a few months later).

Red Maple
Acer rubrum

Red Maple is a tree that you probably wouldn’t expect to see in South Florida but it is actually native to our area.  This is the same Red Maple species  you would see in Canada.  This tree species is one of the most common and widespread deciduous trees in eastern North America.  It has adapted to a wide range of site conditions, from swamps to dry soils.  In South Florida, it grows much better in wet or irrigated sites.  I have seen quite large Red Maples in the north part of Broward County Tradewinds Park.  In the northern part of its range, many cultivars and varieties have been selected for  spectacular fall color displays.  The cultivars have names like Autumn Flame, October Glory, Red Sunset and Scarlet Sentinel.   Red Maple’s fall color can range from yellow, orange and red.  Unfortunately, in South Florida we do not get the spectacular color displays but in late fall early winter there is a little bit of red. 

The newly emerging leaves and red flowers and fruits signal that spring has come. They appear in December and January in Florida, later in the northern part of its range. The seeds of red maple are quite popular with squirrels and birds.

When planting the species Acer rubrum , select only those which have been grown from seed sources in your area.

Pictures below –  (1) Red Maples along a lake up north.  (2) Red Maple Leaf.  (3) Red Maple flowers


Great website with Red Maple photos -

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-5785  Fax - (954) 828-4745

Think before you print!