2017

 
 

Autumn Spire red maple, or Acer rubrum "Autumn Spire", is another cultivar of the Acer rubrum that has so many impressive attributes. It's form is a narrow accent tree that is perfect for urban gardens. This upright and columnar growth only reaches 50 feet at full maturity with a spread of 25 feet or less. And its decorative qualities are typical of red maples. In spring it is loaded with showy red flowers which leads to thousands of pretty red samaras, or seeds in late spring. All summer Autumn Spire is covered in handsome green foliage which, in early autumn, puts on the most amazing, and unrivaled, display of scarlet, a display that is long-lasting and consistent. But the thing that separates Autumn Spire from so many other attractive maples with similar characteristics is its adaptability to extreme cold. This showy, small tree, with its bold vertical form, was developed by the University of Minnesota, USA and is designed for  those regions of North America noted for hot, dry summers and bitter, cold winters. This would include Canada's Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as the upper midwest of the United States. This is a demanding region that often lacks as many good choices as other parts of the world. Of course, Autumn Spire would work in more hospitable regions as well, but it's nice to have another choice for those cold, dry regions.

The texture of Autumn Spire is medium which would blend well with both finer and coarser textured trees. But it would be most impressive lining a drive where the upright form would lend a formal air to an approach. And of course it would make a first-rate specimen for the residential garden, one that would require little maintenance or effort once established. And as it is so drought tolerant, it is an excellent choice for xeriscaping. It is also a boon to wild-life providing both food and shelter for birds and squirrels.

Even though Autumn Spire is drought tolerant it does well in damp soils and even periodic flooding. It has a preference for acidic soils and is subject to chlorosis in alkaline soils. And it's tolerant of urban soils. Autumn Spire grows at a medium pace and can be expected to live 80 to 100 years. This special cultivar of the North American red maple may not be available in the discount nurseries but is worth seeking out for its beauty, proportion and toughness.

Autumn Spire red maple

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