Question about Autumn Fantasy Red Maple tree

samnsarahAugust 12, 2010

I was told that the Acer à freemanii ÂDTR 102 (Autumn Fantasy®)resembled a Silver Maple more than a Red Maple and that that was a detriment. Why would that be considered a detriment? I has great red fall color and from what I read, the Autumn Fantasy Maple has the rapid growth of the Silver Maple but the strong branching qualities of the Red Maple. Please let me know if you have heard any negative reports about the Autumn Fantasy Maple tree. Thank you.

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Are you in a location that cannot support straight red maple? For example is the soil on the alkaline side? I know this doesn't answer your question but if you can grow a red maple, grow a red maple. You'll won't have to worry about some of the problems that usually occur with freemans maples. The increased growth rate is negligible at best and I'd even argue that I've persoanlly seed red maples grow much faster.

Now to try to answer your question, If you're familiar at all with silver maple, you'll know that they don't have such a great branch structure on their own. It takes regular selective pruning to try to eliminate the tight branching angles that are a prime cause of breakage when the tree grows larger. So if this particular cultivar is prone to having not so great branch structure (and this is also common with freemans. Some look great, many do not.), you'll want to be extra diligent to stay on top of the maintenance and pruning.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 9:32AM
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Okay. I guess that is what the Botanist meant when he said that the Autumn Fantasy resembling a Silver Maple more than a Red Maple was a detriment. He recommended the Red Sunset Maple tree.
And where I live is fine for planting Red Maples. I just read on some tree nursery sites that the Autumn Fantasy looked more like a Red Maple but grew fast like a Silver Maple, but they may have just been trying to market their product too.
Well, if the botanist and you both say that the Red Maple is better, than I may just go with the
Red Sunset Maple(s). Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 7:48PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

A red maple is the better choice when you don't require fast growth, drought tolerance and you have neutral to slightly acidic soil.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:27PM
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Where I live, late Summer droughts are quite common. I don't want to have to use gallons upon gallons of water to keep a young tree alive. Would a Red Maple still be a good option?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 3:03AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

'Magnificent Magenta', selected in Kansas is claimed to be more drought resistant.

National Arboretum web site plant introductions section makes out leafhopper resistance to be important, shows and describes three of their introductions (that have some resistance).

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 2:48PM
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You won't need to water an established red maple. If you see mature ones around then they grow there. Plant that instead. you'll be glad you did. The October glory red maple is the fastest growing red maple that I have seen, by the way. Out pacing our freemans by leaps and bounds and the fall color lasts longer. I would only recomend a freeman when it's that or no maple at all.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 9:02AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

There are multiple cultivars of both on the market, with varying characteristics. More than a few times particular Freeman maple selections have been offered as red maples by growers, these having the general appearance and red or reddish fall color of stereotypic red maples.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 12:36PM
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Thanks for your help. I have heard pros and cons for all of these Maple trees. The Red Sunset Maple was recommended by a forester here in Sout Central Kansas. I don't see too many October Glory Maples around. I read on another website that they are not hardy. In other words they don't do well in hot, dry climates. However, all of these websites contradict each other so much its hard to know for sure what will grow well in my area and what won't.
Honestly, I am seriously leaning towards a Bald Cypress Taxodium distichum. They grow really, really well here in South Central Kansas. They grow fast, I have never seen a single one with any problems, and the Bermuda grass is almost always green underneath of them (very rare.) Plus, they have a nice cinnamon color in the Fall.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 6:55PM
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October glory tolerates heat and drought just fine but both red maple and bald cypress are mesic trees. Good for wet areas. If you see these doing well around a pond, that doesn't necessarily mean they will do well on a dry elevated homesite. I would take the advice of your local forester though. Unless they say to plant a bradford pear, then ignore everything they say.

I don't have a Red Sunset but I once asked someone who had both Red Sunset and October Glory which one they liked better and they said they like the october glory better. In case that sounds suspect and you don't believe me, the person I asked was Julie Shaver who gained some notoriety for her Tree Growers' Diary. Take a look at the pages she devoted to both the red sunset and october glory.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Thanks gardningrandma. I will check out that link. You're partially right about the Bald Cypress. Although it is a traditionally mesic tree, it actually does great away from water and in dry climates. Case in point, there are at least four bald cypress trees in the town where I live that are growing well with no nearby supply of water and no irrigation.
I will check out that link though, because I originally wanted to plant the October Glory but was steared away from it. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 7:25AM
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brian_zn_5_ks(N.E. Kansas)

With all due respect to your forester, I think you might want to consider your choices further.

Red Sunset is a wildly popular tree, and deservedly so - they are gorgeous. But in our area, they are not as tolerant of our soils and climate as the Freeman hybrids. October Glory is so late to color up that I don't recommend it. Good tree, just not reliable year to year for color.

Fall color, from year to year, is variable of course, but in a good year Autumn Fantasy is a screaming red blaze of glory. Quite a sight...

You might also consider the Caddo sugar maple selections - Autumn Splendor and John Pair. These are admittedly slower growing, but very very nice sturdy trees that put up with our summer heat and drought extremely well. If you are in the vicinity, drop by the K-State extension farm on the south side of Wichita - there is a fine stately example of the John Pair maple.

State foresters tell me that the only problem with bald cypress in Kansas is chlorosis associated with our alkaline soils. The father west you go, the greater the problem. But if you have good growing trees in your area. then more than likely you will be successful, as well.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:42AM
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Thanks, Brian. A friend of mine just planted two 25 foot Autumn Fantasy Maples for his church, so I will keep an eye on them.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 2:44AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

At 25' tall and planted in August, probably several people should keep an eye on them - to make sure they get good aftercare.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 12:33PM
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Yeah, he's already had to dig them back up. Evidentally, some other church memebers started a project that should have been done earlier in the year and caused the ground sink about four inches, exposing the top of the root ball on both trees.
But I think he planted them incorrectly to begin with. He covered the top of the root ball with two inches of soil, but I thought that you were only supposed to plant the tree so that the top of the root ball is level with the ground.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 9:07PM
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