Fall is right around the corner, and we can almost smell the pumpkin spice in the air. While people are prepping for sweater weather and football season to start, they’re also getting pretty excited for vibrant fall colors. Most of the brightest fall colors come from Maples, which display bright shades of yellow, orange and red.
With a huge number of different types of Maple Trees native to North America, choosing the right fit for your landscape can be tough. We’ve put together a list of the top Maples with the best fall color.
1. Sugar Maples
Now you’re probably thinking about maple syrup and pancakes (yum). So, you should know that the Sugar Maple gets its name by having the sweetest sap out of all of the maple trees. It’s definitely the top choice if you’re interested in harvesting your own sap.
Sugar Maples also grow into large shade trees by reaching heights of 55 to 75 feet, with a spread of 30 to 50 feet.
This Maple variety stands up to the cold, by withstanding the freezing temperatures in growing zones 3 through 8. This is the tree for you if you fear that winter might be a little too rough.
Most important of all, the Sugar Maple has amazing color. In the spring and summer, the leaves are a shade of rich green that develop shades of gold, orange and red during fall. This tree has three different traffic-stopping colors every spring, causing it to stand out as the prettiest tree on the block.
2. The Autumn Blaze Maple
Pull out your sunglasses before looking at this hot maple. It is known for being one of the fastest-growing Maples, with a growth rate of 3 to 5 feet per year. This is the pick for those who want to have a mature tree in their landscape fast!
By reaching heights of 40 to 50 feet and a width of 30 to 40 feet, this Maple makes for an excellent shade tree. Place a picnic table or two under the canopy to keep your guests cool during family reunions or barbecues. Once all the leaves have fallen in the winter, the sunlight will shine through the branches to warm your home.
The Autumn Blaze Maple provides some of the brightest fall color around. It stands out like a beacon with bright red leaves, attracting everyone’s eyes to your landscape.
3. The Norway Maple
One of the toughest Maples, the Norway has the ability to grow in a variety of poor conditions. Poor soil, rocky soils, soil that’s heavy in clay, sandy soil, etc.
The Norway Maple will also stand up to smog and air pollutants in urban areas. If planted in your yard, this tree will filter out pollutants in the air. It’s the perfect team player in communities. Recommended for growing zones 4 through 8, it can also stand up cold winter temperatures and inclement winter weather.
Heights of 40 to 50 feet and widths of 15 to 25 feet mean the Norway also shades the neighborhood. Read a book or lay in a hammock under your beautiful shade tree.
4. The American Red Maple
The recommended growing zones for this tree are zones 4 to 9, meaning this tree is both cold hardy and drought tolerant. It can be planted down in Southern Florida, Texas, California and other warm areas. The American Red will also flourish in the extremely cold areas around Northern Maine, Wisconsin and Washington.
Another pick from the toughest Maples, it can also survive a variety of different conditions. Swampy wet areas and dry areas will be just fine for this vigorous grower. The American Red Maple is also a perfect choice for urban areas because smog and pollutants won’t harm it.
With a growing rate of 2 to 3 feet per year, it’s considered a fast growing variety. It will quickly reach heights of 40 to 60 feet tall while growing to 25 to 45 feet in width.
Best of all, it provides multiple seasons of exciting colors. In the spring, the American Red Maple has clusters of red flowers that pop against its vivid green leaves. Fall brings rich shades of fiery red.
BONUS TIP: Check out Japanese Maples if you’re looking for similar color without larger size.