Think back to your favorite street. We are willing to bet that it was lined with large, mature shade trees giving yards a beautiful and charming feel as sunlight weaved through their lush green canopies and large weaving branches.

In the fall the leaves would turn brilliant shades of yellow, red, and orange before dropping. These trees must have even looked stunning in the winter with blankets of snow covering the branches. The type of shade trees we are describing are maples and today we’re discussing one of the most popular new maple varieties, the Autumn Blaze Maple.

15 Reasons To Plant Autumn Blaze Maples

  1. RedSunsetMapleThe Autumn Blaze Maple is a hybrid cross between the Silver Maple and Red Maple, therefore their best qualities are combined to create a tough, fast growing maple that’s full of benefits.
  1. Whether your soil is acidic, basic or anything in-between your Autumn Blaze Maple will adapt to it and thrive. They aren’t picky!
  1. In fact Autumn Blaze Maples are so easy going that they can tolerate both dry and wet soils. With a high level of drought tolerance and ability to handle wet conditions Autumn Blaze Maples can survive in almost any environment.
  1. Is it cold where you are? That’s fine, because Autumn Blaze Maples are recommended for growing zones 3 through 8. They can withstand freezing temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. The Autumn Blaze Maple was the winner of the 2003 and 2004 Urban Tree of the Year award, for their tough, disease and insect resistant nature. Pests pose no threats to this maple.
  1. Autumn Blaze Maples grow up to 3 feet per year. This is an extremely fast growth rate for a maple tree, meaning you get all of the benefits of a mature tree faster.
  1. AutumnBlazeMAPLEAutumn Blaze Maples are beautiful. They have tons of thick, green, lush leaves that glimmer in the sun all spring and summer long.
  1. In the fall the abundant green leaves turn a shade of fiery red that attracts attention from all over. The show stopping color is one of the brightest shades of fall color red available.
  1. Their leaves aren’t only pretty, they are also rewarding. In the summer the leaves create shaded areas to provide relief from the heat. If the shade covers the roof or a large sunny window it can keep homes cooler, so the AC can rest. This can save a lot of money when it comes to utility bills during the warmer months.
  1. In the colder months the leaves drop, allowing sunlight through the branches to warm your yard and home.
  1. AutumnBlaze-1Along with colorful leaves, Autumn Blaze Maples have samaras which are winged pods. They are green with red edges, and as they spin through the air towards the ground they look like miniature helicopters. They’re a delight to watch.
  1. The samaras are an excellent food source for birds and other small critters, causing the Autumn Blaze Maple to be a must have for those who enjoy watching birds, and other wildlife.
  1. People want the homes with the best landscaping. Once an Autumn Blaze Maple is planted and beautifully takes off property values sky rocket. The Autumn Blaze Maple is a sound investment if you might sell your property.
  1. iStock_000000983675SmallBreathe better. Autumn Blaze Maples will clean the air while they filter out carbon dioxide. Pollution particles are caught in the leaves, so you get to take in all the clean air. This is great for areas with a lot of smog, and can help those with asthma.
  1. Trees in the landscape inspire creative thinking. Thick jagged canopies break up the mundane cityscape to refresh minds, and inspire ideas. Children can put their video games away to go outside and play around Autumn Blaze maples for hours.

Autumn Blaze Maple Care

Since Autumn Blaze Maples are extremely low maintenance, they don’t need much TLC. However, we do have a few tips to help them flourish.

BrightRed-3Plant your Autumn Blaze Maples in an area that receives full to partial sunlight. The more sunlight that these trees receive, the brighter fall colors they will have.

Autumn Blaze Maples will adapt to your natural soil even if it is sandy or heavy in clay, as long as it drains well. However, these maples prefer soil that’s slightly acidic. Add organic matter like peat moss to your soil in order to increase its acidity.

Rainwater usually provides enough moisture for Autumn Blaze Maples, however they will need supplemental water during times of drought.

RedMapleLeavesEven though Autumn Blaze Maples generally don’t need any fertilizer, you can give your trees a boost in the early spring and fall by fertilizing them with an all natural organic fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen like formula 16-4-8, or 12-4-8. Don’t fertilize your trees until they have experienced a year of growth.

Add to Your Landscape

Autumn Blaze Maples are an excellent choice for those who want to add a large, beautiful tree to their landscape. Its disease and pest resistant nature make it a great choice for beginners or those who want a low maintenance tree.

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12 years ago I was sitting around, talking with two of my favorite, fellow Plant Geeks. We were trying to figure out why so many, superior plant varieties were not available to the public and were seldom offered in Garden Centers. Instead, the stores sold less attractive, older varieties, proven to be disease and insect prone. They also sold the sprays and chemicals that their customers would eventually need. The Ah Ha moment hit us and a company was formed. We decided that we would only offer the highest quality plants that must be Easy to Grow.
  • linda janes

    do autum blaze maples have some yellow leaves mixed with the red orange in the fall

    • Chris

      I think it is mainly bright red only.

  • Tim

    How do the autumn blaze maple handle low pH soil ?

    • AllisonTrees

      Autumn Blaze Maples actually prefer soils with a lower pH, so they handle it extremely well.

      • Tim

        Thank you very much

  • Paul DeMarco

    any idea who to contact to buy large trees like these? say 15-20′ already?

  • Sherry Hylender

    I just received my Autumn blaze!! So excited !!! But today is the first day of September and here in Mississippi it’s still very hot should I put my baby in the ground or should I keep in my 71 degree house until it cools off !! Please help!!!!

    • Sherry, we are glad you are so excited. Go ahead and get it in the ground. The heat should have no effect on the plant. Just make sure you water it well for the next 3-4 weeks.

  • 1grizzfan4life

    I just planted two of these today and was going to put down a little fertilizer that I ordered with the trees, before putting down some mulch. This is the first I’ve heard to not fertilize until they have experienced a year of growth. Could someone tell me why? Thanks

    • SamSneed

      You want to encourage root growth the first year. When there is poor nutrients, the plant will grow woodier and search for nutrients by putting out more roots. This makes the tree stronger and healthier in the long run. After the roots are established, then the tree can benefit from nutrients to put into the branches and leaves. Your adding a little fertilizer isn’t going to hurt things long term, just be sure to avoid fertilization in the future for at least a full year to establish a better root system.

  • Kevin Novacek

    Do all autumn blaze maples have the Samara and how much room do I need for the root system?

    • Although the Autumn Blaze Maples are virtually seedless in most climates in North America, we cannot guarantee you will never see samaras.

      I would allow a good 15-20 ft. clearance for roots. Since most maple roots are very shallow, they can easily crack and split concrete driveways and sidewalks.

  • Lea

    is there anything I can do to help the fall color of my Autumn Blaze? It is a dull orange?

    • There are many factors the determine the intensity of fall color on Maple Trees. Weather, tree health and other environmental factors play a big role. The only suggestion we have is to keep your tree as healthy as possible. Some years you will have intense color while others may be a bit more dull.

  • Michael

    Hi. I’m looking into this tree and was wondering how it may fair in this So Cal warm climate. Thanks.

    • This tree should do well, however with the warmer weather you have, you may not see the bright red foliage these are known for.

  • Bill t

    Would these trees tolerate slightly alkaline soil?

  • Rick a

    I was wondering if you can maintain grass under the tree? I was unsure if they suck all
    The moisture out of the area like a oak tree or some others do. Also does the yard become an area of surface roots like the silver maple? Thank you for the feedback.

    • Rick, they do have surface roots but are minimal in comparison to the silver maple. I would suggest a 3-4 ft ring of mulch around the tree to ‘hide’ these roots as well as give some buffer for growing grass. Grass should grow just fine around these maples.

  • Pat

    I have a large dead tree 40′ tall x 40′ wide in my back patio that I need to replace, and think the Autumn Blaze Maple would be bountiful. There’s a tree well around the tree, approx. 5 x 6 feet, but the rest of the patio is concrete pavers set in sand. Would I have problems with surface roots pushing up the pavers?

    • Yes, you would run into issues down the road. Maple Trees are not good for ‘well’ areas as they have surface roots and can easily destroy concrete or brick. An good alternative would be a ginkgo or elm tree.

      • Pat

        LOVE Ginkgos but they are sooooo slow growing. We’re going to miss our large tree and hoping to replace with something that is relatively fast growing and still be tough to endure the occasional ice storms we have here in central Oklahoma.

        • Understood… are you looking for a tree that will be 40’x40′ again or are you open to smaller ornamental trees (dogwood, redbuds, etc)

          • Pat

            The current tree, when it was alive, shaded the entire back patio, which is probably 30′ wide. The tree canopy was approx 10 ft high and spread above the roof line and fence. It’s going to take some time for any tree to mature to that size, but looking for something that has that potential. Even if not in my lifetime. Without the tree the back patio is a hot box. Full sun, Oklahoma red clay dirt, potentially harsh winters, hot summers.

          • This is one of my favorite trees with great fall foliage, super hardy and will not damage your ‘well.’

          • Pat

            Thank you! Absolutely beautiful. On my short list for sure. I’ve heard the Chinese Pistache called The Ugly Duckling when they’re young. Do you subscribe to that thought? And if they’re not the most beautiful trees early on, how old are they when they grow out of that stage?

          • Yes, they can be a ‘Dr. Seuss’ tree when young, I would give it 3-5 years to grow out of this stage.

          • Pat

            Good to know – thanks!

          • Pat

            Do you know whether they ever come with double or multiple trunks?

  • David Patterson

    will these trees grow in rocky soil

  • Virginia Miller

    I can’t believe that in this article and 30+ comments no one has mentioned the fact that Autumn Blaze maples have TERRIBLE structure and need annual professional pruning if you want your tree to live more than 20 years or so. I see 15 year old trees breaking apart in even minor storms in the landscape all over my area already. This tree is incredibly beautiful and easy to grow but you MUST get it pruned professionally if you want it to be more than a temporary addition to your landscape.

  • Mac Currier

    I’m looking to plant a tree in my front yard near a septic pump house, and house foundation. How invasive are the roots while growing, and how far from things should I plant a tree like this to avoid damage to sewage lines etc?

    • Amanda

      Hi Mac! We recommend planting Autumn Blaze Maples 15-20 feet away from any structures and septic lines.

  • jeffrey scott

    Had 2 AB maples planted about five years ago. They were about 6 1/2 ft. tall and are now about 20-22 ft. tall. My problem is one of them has large splits in the bark, some of which have opened to elliptical holes 3/4 in. What is this a sign of? The other tree has one long vertical split in bark. Please advise. Sure would hate to loose the beauties. Thanks.

    • Amanda

      Hello Jeffrey! Split bark is normal on maples, as long as it’s in the first layer. If it’s under the first layer, it could be frost damage or sun scald which will usually heal itself. To protect your trees’ bark, let the canopies grow larger to shade the bark in the summer. You could also try wrapping the trunks in late fall.

  • Amanda

    Hi Angela! Dog urine shouldn’t harm your tree. To be on the safe side, you could always put a little cage around the base of it to keep the dog away until the tree is well-established.

  • Gabe

    Hello, we just planted our autumn blaze trees 3 days ago and the leaves are wilting pretty bad. Our zone is 6b. Should this be a worry? Should I be water them like crazy? Thank you! Any suggestions are appreciated.

    • Amanda

      Your tree may need a little more water at first while it gets established in its new home. Check the soil with your finger, and if it’s dry 2 inches down from the soil-line, your tree needs water. Then check it again every other day or every few days, and water it as needed.

  • Joflo

    Would it be reasnable to plant this tree in zone 9a? Im from Laredo verry hot 110 degree summers and mild winters. Going to be removing my existing tree to put in a drive way and want to plant somethig new and refreshing in a different location. Never seen one in south Texas and have to say it is a beautiful tree.

  • Kim Thwaits

    We bought a home in Oregon with an 7-9 year old Autumn Blaze in the backyard that is growing well. They planted it right next to a retaining rock wall and a paved driveway. The soil is heavy, heavy clay and they didn’t appear to dig out much for the tree. The tree’s roots can extend only in one direction covering about 1/4 of tree’s circumference since the yard is the only clear spot for the roots to grow. (1/2 of the area is a solid clay/boulder slope and 1/4 is a driveway.) We are digging up most of the yard to improve drainage and to get rid of 6″ of clay soil. The yard appears to be sod that was laid directly on the hard clay. We can protect about 10′ to 13′ around the yard side of the tree but will be killing many/many roots. I’m wondering if we should remove the tree and plant something deeper and more appropriate or cross our fingers. (We like the tree for shade and privacy.)

    • Amanda

      Unfortunately, the roots could eventually destroy the retaining wall and/or driveway. Autumn Blaze Maples should be planted at least 15-20 feet away from any foundations to give the canopy and roots room to spread out in all directions. The roots typically grow out to be as wide as the canopy, which can be fairly large on mature maple trees. If the tree isn’t too large already, you can try transplanting it in a different location. We cannot guarantee success, but it’s always worth a try. It would probably be best to contact a local Arborist or landscaper to assist you with that. Hope this helps!

  • Nancy Fetters

    Would the Autumn Blaze Maples make good driveway trees up and down the driveway?

  • SideEyeSlim

    I’m thinking of putting an AB in the SW corner of my front yard. My concern is the helicopters (samaras). Do they pollute the ground with seedlings as bad as a silver maple does? I was surprised to see this feature listed as a benefit. To me, they are a scourge.

  • The Realist

    Fast growing trees normally lead to nothing but weak structural issues in the long term. Ask any Arborist. They have their place like any tree but certainly not near your home or as the center piece of your property.

    Realistically, the Autumn Blaze should be pruned every 3-5 years or you will develop V shaped unions that can easily drop large branches damaging your property or the tree to the point it will need to be removed. I’m speaking from experience here as we have 2 AB trees near our home (15-20′) that now need to come down due to 2 near misses during windy days (not storm related).

    The Autumn Blaze is a beautiful fast growing shade tree but beware of its limitations that are conveniently not mentioned in this article.

    • Shanelle L

      Actually the freeman maple has few structural issues, due to its genetics from the red maple. This tree is a hybrid that benefits from the silver maple’s quick growth and the red maples hardiness and vibrant colours 🙂

  • Nancy Fetters

    Thank you kindly Amanda!

    • Amanda

      You are most welcome!

  • Jessica

    How well will these grow in Tampa, Florida? If at all

    • Amanda

      Hello Jessica! To determine if the Autumn Blaze Maple will thrive in your climate, what is your zip code?

      • Jessica

        Thank you Amanda! 33566 =)

  • Gerry Keefe

    My “tree guy” told me once that most of the storm damage that they clean up is from Maples. I love their fall look and great shape, but he said, and looking around at the stalwarts in my neighborhood, I’d have to agree, it’s the oaks that are the answer. Many varieties and you have them much longer.

  • Gerry Keefe

    But still plenty of “helicopters”, its true of all maples.

  • spc2w

    I would like to plant an Autumn Blaze maple (or Sienna Glen maple) in a round center island at the end of our cul de sac, about 32 ft in diameter (no power lines nearby). I would like to fill in the circle with shrubs and was thinking of golden mop thread leaf false cypress. Should I add a few grasses, or birds nest blue spruce? Any thoughts?

  • spc2w

    Thank you for your prompt reply! I am looking for something with texture and I loved the contrast of the yellow green in the gold mop cypress. If you think that might be a problem down the road, can you suggest any other evergreen with more color than just green that would complement the nest spruce? The circle surrounded by a road and I wasn’t sure how the boxwood might hold up to
    the road grit.

    • Amanda

      The Gold Mop Cypress would need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to survive, and eventually the canopy of the maple would completely shade it out. Heucheras and Hostas are perennials that thrive underneath large shade trees. They come in a variety of colors that would complement the Nest Spruce.

  • Janice Schwark

    My leaves have black spots I don’t see bugs.

  • Clara Stewart

    My maples have dead limbs in the middle this year. I am so concerned about them. Is there anything I can do? What fertilizer do I need for them?

  • Pam Jenkins

    We planted an AB in about Aug/Sept about 9 years ago. That fall it turned it’s beautiful red color, it has not done it since. Instead around July, per the pic below, the outer edge of the leaves start turning yellow then brown then drop off by fall time. Not sure if it’s too much water due to natural springs under the neighborhood where there is constant run off from our yard throughout the year or possibly not enough which I can’t image. The only thing I found on the internet to diagnose, after viewing the pics, is possibly Maple Wilt. I am so disappointed and would really love seeing the beautiful fall color we enjoyed the first year. Any suggestions?

  • Anthony Villella

    I live in the foothills of Northern California. Hot summers and snowy, cold winters. Would these maples do OK here? Also, do the root systems damage driveways as they mature? Very cool article on this beautiful tree!

    • Amanda

      Hi Anthony! To determine if Autumn Blaze Maples will thrive in your climate, what is your zip code?

      • Anthony Villella

        We live in Murphys, California. 95247

  • Kyle Paben

    Last spring I bought and planted 3 Autumn Blaze Maples, 6′ each. It seems that they are growing slow or not at all. Their leaves also blackness to them where they almost look burnt. See picture. What do I need to be doing to promote more growth? Is the leaf issue a fungus thing? Thank you.

  • Tom

    I planted my AB two years ago and so far growth has been pretty minimal. It is slightly taller and wider, but have not seen 3′ of growth per year. I can tell b/c I sit in my office and only see the tree about 1′ taller at best. However, it is healthy and is in full sun, so maybe I just need to be patient. I read that trees follow the pattern of first year it sleeps, 2nd it creeps and 3rd it leaps.

    • Amanda

      Yes, sometimes it can take the tree a little while to adjust to its new surroundings before it really takes off! You may try applying a well-balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 to give it an extra boost. Simply follow the instructions on the package label.

  • Hotsauce

    HI – I live in Northern Nevada in the high mountain desert at around 5000 feet. Over the past few years we have had several wind storms each year with sustained winds in the ~60 mph range with gusts to 90. Each of these storms has brought down huge old trees around the neighborhood that had to be decades old and many of those trees toppled into houses and buildings.

    So I am looking for a shade tree whose growth wont be glacially slow but most importantly can withstand the tests of high velocity wind storms. Does the Autumn Blaze/Freeman Maple meet these requirements? Or should I be considering one of the faster growing Oaks like the Pin Oak or the Sawtooth Oak?

  • Pepi LeTourneau

    Does the autumn blaze maple, grow well in the Phoenix-Mesa AZ area?

  • samuel brubaker

    What about planting these in the grass where the sprinklers will be watering?

  • Joseph E White

    They are beautiful. How far away should I plant them from my concrete walkway so they don’t cause any problems with the roots?

  • Justin Asti

    I own a campsite in the trailer park of Timber Trails, CA 95247. It is located on a mountain near Avery, CA. We already own 5 other types of maples that are growing at our site and we really want to plant this tree with them while we are doing landscaping and construction. Do you think there is any chance at all that it would survive or at least change color in the winter?

  • Chris Wilson


  • Chris Wilson

    I planted about a 5″ blaze maple in my yard a little over 3 weeks ago. It had been in the box for about 5 day so I got it ou and put it in the ground quick. We have put about 3 gallons of water on it and it has since gotten some pretty decent rain water but it seems like the leaves are drying or just Turing black. Any suggestions on this little guy?

  • Kyle Paben
    Last Spring I bought 3 Autumn Blaze Maples @ 6′. 2 of them are doing good this spring. The one pictured seems to be “bent”. Is there a proven way to straighten these. I had a bamboo pole attached to it for a long time in attempt to help correct it. Currently took that off and now here it is. Thanks.