Key identifying features.. Look for a
tree with tiny red flowers in early spring and brilliant red color in fall.
Common name.. October Glory Red Maple
Scientific name.. Acer rubrum - 'October
Mature height.. 40 to 50 feet
Mature spread.. 25 to 35 feet
Form.. Broad, round, symmetrical.
Fruit.. Samaras take flight later in
spring, providing a feast for the birds and squirrels who love to eat them.
Flowers.. Tiny red flowers are the first
sign of spring in the trees.
|March 29, 2005
|April 5, 2005
Foliage.. Deciduous; star-shaped leaves
are sometimes tinged red when they first emerge in spring, changing to clear green all summer, then to brilliant red in late
fall. These stunning red leaves can sometimes hang on for a month, making the October Glory one of the best trees for fall
color. However, since the tree changes color late in the season, and holds its leaves so long, by the time they've all fallen,
it's too cold to rake! (Or perhaps that's just an excuse to not go outside in the cold.) Leaves are opposite, simple, lobed.
Many of the leaf stems are red, at least for the first few weeks.
Growth rate.. Fast; two feet or more
a year. (See the growth chart for more pictures.)
Culture.. Requires full sun to partial
shade. While the tree is drought tolerant once established, it prefers wet soil or at least to be kept moist for optimal growth.
(Red maples are also known as swamp maples; they like their water!) This red maple variety is highly adaptable to many soil
Best time to prune.. In fall or early
winter, when the tree is dormant, or, in summer once the leaves have reached full size.
Of special note.. This tree should be
pruned to develop a strong central leader. Surface roots can be a problem. In summer of 2004, I started noticing surface roots
in the grass. By May 2006, we were tripping over them.
Julie's Comments.. (June
2004) This is one of my favorite trees, planted in honor of my older son, Bradley, whose birthday is on October 31st. He's
the one who chose the October Glory tree. When it was first planted, he and I could not imagine the little tree would ever
provide significant shade for the yard and the tree house, but only five years later the tree house is shaded all morning
long. We also love to watch the birds who seem to enjoy hanging out in this tree. One nuisance: roots are showing up in the
grass, which could be a problem in a few years to mow over, assuming the grass survives the shade. The intense red fall color
is usually stunning and lasts for a month. The tree is even interesting in winter with its red branch ends and late winter
Planting date.. March
1999. 2.5-inch diameter trunk. Height: 9 feet. Burlap disintegrated during planting, resulting in the root ball loosening
quite a bit. Plus, we had a hard time getting the tree to stand straight in its planting hole, so it underwent a fair bit
of pushing and pulling. I was very worried for the first few weeks that it would repay me for the abuse by croaking on me.
Alas, it seems quite happy here now.
Update, April 2006.. The
surface roots are showing up in the yard as far as 10 feet from the trunk, and she's still a baby yet. We are trying to come
up with a plan to make them less of a problem. We need a compost bin!
DO OVER?.. Yes, but not
in a spot where surface roots would be a pain to mow around or play near.