Somerset Maple

jskeyes2(Z10 San Diego)June 4, 2007

I have a Somerset Maple that I am trying to figure where to plant. I have seen the "official" release notes from the US National Arboretum that states that it is it will around 23 feet tall by 11 feet wide in 12 years, and is a cross between an October Glory and an Autumn Flame.

However, I am wondering if any here has specific experience with this tree on growth habit and possible more information on mature height and width. I don't know if I can neccessary go off the height of an October Glory and Autumn Flame (I think that both of these would have been taller than 23 feet in 12 year, but just my opinion.

Thanks for any info.

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I don't see any reason to think this tree will grow at a rate much different from that of its parents. Yes, the estimate on the tag may be a bit low, but that depends very much on soil and other growing conditions. Anyone who tries to give you any better guidance on this may be reporting based on the conditions his tree is growing in, and what you have may be different.

What exactly is your concern? Are you afraid the tree will get too large? I think most of these red maple cultivars will grow to be medium/large trees eventually. I don't know of any reliable source that can compare their growth under any consistent set of conditions. And whatever differences there may be for most people would not make a critical difference.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 8:58PM
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jskeyes2(Z10 San Diego)

Hey Spruceman -

Thanks for the info. My concern is indeed size of the tree. There is a specific spot near the house that I would like to plant it. However, I do not want to plant it there if it becomes too large. I have seen several estimates of eventual size as 30 tall by 20 wide - which is a far cry from an october glory that is common size of 50 feet tall by 20 feet wide.

I do know that soil condition, zone, water, etc can all affect the size; I was just seeing if someone out there had better information than what I was coming across. I know the safe bet is to assume that it will be 50 x 40, but I would like to hear what others have to say.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 10:18PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Red (and Freeman) maples are large-growing trees. If you don't have a location for an eventual skyline specimen, choose something else - unless you are planting for the short term only.

Here is a link that might be useful: Myth of Uniform Plant Performance

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 11:09PM
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Based on what I know about these cultivars, I think you may have a tree that will get too big eventually. It is possible that some red maple cultivar will be a much smaller tree, but the 10 year size estimate on this one seems reasonably close to what I have seen for a number of others. I have planted 7 of these red maple cultivars, and one Freeman, and my understanding is that the variations in size between them are not great.

You do have the option of trying the tree in that place and see how it grows. The worst that can happen is that you will want to have it removed in about 20 years or so. That is a good long time to enjoy the tree. Also, there is a possibility that as the tree grows you will find that it is OK for that spot even if it gets bigger than you originally thought you wanted. Having lived in some old neighborhoods in my lifetime, I have seen really, really big trees next to houses and they were really wonderful. A lot of people in these forums, in my humble opinion(OK, not so humble, I know), are too worried about large trees next to houses. I should take a video of the older residential sections of Winchester, VA and show some of the truly humongous trees growing next to houses. And in Arlington, VA there are some veritable giants within a few feet of houses. And in my opinion, these trees are glorious. And they create a wonderfully beautiful setting for the houses.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 9:28AM
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jskeyes2(Z10 San Diego)

Spruce -

I think this is an excellent point. So ofter I am worried that the tree is going to be its full size one year after I plant it. Though I think that people should consider the ultimate size, I see nothing wrong with your suggestion of enjoying the tree for 20 years.... who knows if I will even be here.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 11:46AM
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