Red maple - Fall color ?

fagopher(zone 5)November 1, 2008

Hi all,

I got this question in my head I could not find the answer from google...

I have a young red maple tree. I understand they do change color in fall here in Florida but mine did not change color last year (and I know some of my neighbor's did not either). This year it has not changed color yet, and while I was driving today I did see some maples already with fall color.

Since they are in the same area, I guess it is not b/c of weather or light.. so what makes it to change color for some but not to others? How can I help the tree to change color? (more or less fertilizer ??)


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It really depends on how far south you are. The ones down here change, but just barely. I have one in the yard next door to me that hasn't even started yet, and it never gets very red. In northern FL, they get nice colors.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 5:32PM
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Great question, I am in Jacksonville and would give anything just to have ONE tree that changed in the fall!!

What kind change here? Red?
Thanks for someone who misses the fall color greatly!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 8:01PM
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guadua(10a Jupiter, FL)

My guess would be either the soil conditions or genetics play a role in the reddening. Most of the trees that I have come across in the wild that were red, were growing in wet or very moist soil. Here's a pic of one I found in a natural area in Jupiter, FL. It's sitting right in the water, but it just floods during the wet season in this area, so it will dry up soon. Of the dozen or so red maples I'm growing, only one has red leaves.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 12:34PM
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dghays(Z10A FL Brevard)

That's a pretty tree. I think its even more complicated than its moisture situation, but I'm sure genetics is a big part. Driving down I95 and 528 you see some way more red than others growing in similar conditions. Perhaps its a certain gene which is only expressed so often. I have about a dozen, their color quality varies, but they don't get real red like that one. Good question.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 4:32PM
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Here are some pictures of a young October Glory red maple taken about three days ago. Here in Pensacola it tends to color up in early November. (I hope the Picasa links work for other people, too.) The tree may have been a bit redder last year, although this may just be optimistic remembering. This would be the tree's third year since planting as a five footer, and this is the third Fall that it's had good color. It's growing in a somewhat damp and mucky spot. Consistent with the hypothesis that these trees need moisture to redden in Fall, a younger October Glory nearby, planted about ten feet higher in elevation, in a somewhat sandy hole, isn't showing much color--at least not yet. A street or a drive lined both sides with these things might be nice.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 8:05PM
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