Red Sunset Maple � Trees Alive With Fiery Foliage

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Although maples are often thought of as the beauty of the North American woodlands, the vast majority of the fifty or sixty species are natives of Asia, and chiefly the part which lies between the Himalayas and Japan. They are now native to North American but the origin lies in Asia. They have been in North America for as far back as one can go in history. Canada made the maple leaf its official symbol and it graces the Canadian flag as well as the Canadian coat of arms.

In France, England, Japan, North America [to name a few countries], the popular maple tree is a beautiful ornamental tree. It is fast growing and can grow to 20 � 60 feet tall with a mature spread of 40-50 feet, but the average height is 20-40 feet. The crown of the maple is somewhat ovular and symmetrical and will broaden at maturity. Maples are one of the first to blossom forth and thoughts of spring dance in our heads. This early blossoming draws many kinds of pollinators and this attracts insect eating birds that feed on these pollinators, which helps reduce damage caused by unwanted insects.

The tiny red flowers grow in dense clusters and decorate the tree for approximately 4 weeks. They are most often five lobed, with one small lobe on each side of three large lobes. The samaras, which are winged, one seed fruit are fondly nicknamed �helicopters� because of the way they spin as they propel to the ground. Squirrels, chipmunks and birds like cardinals love to eat these �helicopter� fruits, which take flight in the spring. The stems and twigs have reddish tones; the buds and flowers are red; and in the fall, the leaves turn an orangey-red to a scarlet red, hence the name was given to the Red Sunset Maple.

The foliage is deciduous [broad-leafed shedding foliage at the end of the growing season]. The leaves are star-shaped with three primary veins that denote a maple leaf and can reach up to 6 inches in diameter. In March as spring arrives, the leaves are a pale, tender green that sometimes have a rusty red twinge for a few days before they fully turn green. They become more brilliant in summer and a crimson orange to scarlet red in the fall, making the Red Sunset Maple one of the best for fall colors. As the tree prepares for winter which is normally in the months of September and October, the green leaves become the notable red that depicts a sunset. In the winter, the branch ends and twigs are a pretty burgundy red.

The Red Sunset maple prefers full sun, but it will also grow in partial and full shade as it is very adaptable. When looking to plant this tree, keep in mind that surface roots may grow which could be a hindrance when mowing the lawn. It is wiser to think forward rather than to have any regrets in hindsight. Your favorite nursery will give sound advice.

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