Just how breakable are Freeman Maples?

tonypisaMarch 2, 2007

I have read a number of posts about freeman maples having poor wind resistance. I am looking for a shade tree for our hillside garden, where the winds occasionally come whipping through the valley at up to 40 mph. I have been looking at 'straight' Acer rubrums, but a nearby nursery is offering me a Freeman "autumn blaze' at a better price. Will a Freeman take these winds? Will a Red Maple do any better? Any suggested alternatives for a good-sized shade tree with nice fall color?

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Freeman maples are not the strongest trees you can get, but I don't think you should worry about them breaking in 40 mph winds. Choose the tree you want, whether a Freeman maple of something else, and as it grows prune it to ensure good branching structure--a good central trunk going up through the crown of the tree and no narrow crotch large branches, etc.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 9:43AM
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Thank you spruceman. Actually, I think I underestimated the wind gusts here. I haven't been living here long and have only seen the strong winds a couple of times (the first time they tore the roof off our porch!). I asked some of the locals and they say it's more like 60 mph. Hardly Katrina, but enough to split a big branch off an old Mimosa.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 5:07AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Like Callery pears, Norway maples, hybrid planes and so on Freeman maples are used in quantity in locations like streets and malls (where adapted) so you might want something else just for the sake of intellectual interest. They are also large-growing, over 60 ft. high. Most selections seem to be chosen partly for having slender growth habits, if you try to prevent narrow crotches there won't be much tree left.

Wholesale nurseries describe specific cultivars as having strong crotches, these probably vary in this respect. More recent introductions may tend to be more durable, although this is not necessarily the case. They are all certainly half breakage-prone silver maple genetically, if correctly assigned.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 1:45PM
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