October Glory Red Maple � The Glory of Autumn in the Trees

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When it comes to the captivating colors of autumn, the October Glory Red Maple (Acer rubrum) is one of the first trees that stand out with its brilliant contrast against the evergreens and the golden and yellow tones of other beautiful trees. Have you ever piled up leaves and jumped in them or sat on a hill overlooking a forest with its spectacular fall colors and appreciated the beauty of nature?

The October Glory Red Maple is an ideal landscaping tree that demands little maintenance or attention. It is often used to line driveways, streets, parks, golf courses, professional buildings, malls and countless homes as a stately shade tree that beautifies any landscape. It is a hardy and versatile tree that can grow in any terrain from lush grass to swamps and dry soil. In the spring, it yields delicate, tiny red flowers of five petals in dense clusters that stand out against the deep green of the foliage. In the summer, the foliage is a lustrous green that turns to a fiery orange to crimson red in the fall. The October glory red maple is one of the best and one of the most popular of all cultivars. (If you�re not sure what a cultivar is, it is a variety of a plant developed from a natural species and maintained under cultivation.)

On average, these trees reach heights from 60-80 feet, with the average tree reaching approximately 50 feet. As in anything, there are exceptions and this tree has been known to grow as tall as 150 feet. The height varies along with the conditions in which it grows. The buds form in fall and winter and are green to red in color, with several loose scales. The fruit is an elongated, double samara with wings that are light brown to red in color. A samara is a winged, often one-seed indehiscent fruit as of the ash or elm or maple. These ripen from April through early June. When mature, the seeds are dispersed from April to July, for a week or two.

Most people love maple syrup and Red Maple (A.Rubrum) is often used on a small scale for the maple syrup it produces, as well as for its quality of lumber. This red maple, which is known as the Acer Rubrum is a soft wood and does not produce as much maple syrup as the hard wood maples such as the Acer Saccharum or the Acer Nigrum (known as the black maple, which is closely related to the A. Saccharum). It is not that the Acer Rubrum does not produce much maple syrup, but rather it is the narrow window in which one can harvest maple syrup from this tree. Studies have shown that the red maple is equal in quality, flavor and sweetness as the other maples.

The hindrance and the difference have to do with the budding system of the red maple, as with other soft maples. The buds of this tree come forth much earlier in the spring than the sugar maple (Acer Saccharum). After these buds sprout, a chemical change occurs in the sap, which imparts a most undesirable flavor to the syrup; therefore the tree can only be tapped for syrup before the buds come forth. As a result, the season is very short in which the syrup can be harvested with this particular maple.

The wood of the Acer Rubrum is considered a soft when it comes to the lumber

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