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Extension > Garden > Yard and Garden > Trees and Shrubs > Amur maple (Acer ginnala)

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Amur maple (Acer ginnala)

Rebecca Koetter and Kathy Zuzek

Plant description

Mature height: 15 to 20'
Mature width: 15 to 20'
Growth rate: Medium
Plant form: Round, spreading
Deciduous or evergreen: Deciduous
Native range: Central and northern China, Manchuria and Japan
Native to Minnesota: No
Invasive in Minnesota: Yes


Light: Sun to part shade
Soil texture: sand, loam, loam clays
Soil pH: 6.1 to 7.5
Soil moisture: Prefers moist, well-drained but adaptable to drier
Hardiness zone: 3 to 8
Pests and stresses: Visit What's wrong with my plant? – Maple for a list of the most common maple pests and stresses in Minnesota.
Other: Drought tolerant

Amur maple in the landscape

Amur maple is an Asian species that was first sold as a landscape shrub and tree in Minnesota sometime between 1900 and 1930.It became a popular landscape plant because of its ease of growth, small stature, and beautiful fall color. This species grows easily in well-drained soils such as loams and sandy soils and is also very pH adaptable. It does not grow well in excessively moist or finely-textured soils such as heavy clay or silty soils. Amur maple is by nature a multi-stemmed plant. In horticultural landscapes, depending on how plants are trained and pruned, it grown in three forms: a large shrub, a multi-stemmed tree, or a single-stemmed tree. Tree forms can be used as small boulevard trees, in mass and screen plantings, or as small accent, key or specimen plants in urban yards.

Three-lobed, 2-3' leaves appear opposite of each other along branches in spring. 1 to 1 1/2' clusters of small white or cream-colored, fragrant flowers appear in May or June. The fruit or samaras of Amur maples are winged nutlets; these are produced in fused pairs that break apart as they are shed in fall. In late summer and fall, Amur maple samaras often turn a bright red. The main season of interest for Amur maple is autumn when foliage color changes from green to vivid orange, red, and burgundy.

Amur maple has become invasive in the northern United States, including Minnesota. One plant can produce thousands of seeds each year. When these wind-dispersed seed germinate in a woodland setting or in more open sites with scattered trees, they grow into plants that can displace native plants. Shrubs and understory trees are displaced in woodland settings and native grasses and herbaceous plants are displaced in more open sites. Amur maples should not be planted within 100 yards of natural areas and other species of small trees should be strongly considered as alternatives for new plantings. Young seedlings from established Amur maple plantings should be controlled with mowing and weeding.

Some cultivars grown in Minnesota:

Amur maple tree in the fall with red leaves.

J. Weisenhorn, UMN Extension

Amur maple in autumn

Closeup of a green Amur leaf.

K. Zuzek, UMN Extension

Green summer leaf

White flowers that appear on the Amur tree in the spring.

P. Wray, ISU,

White spring flowers

Samaras on an Amur tree turning red in the fall.

K. Zuzek, UMN Extension

Samaras in early fall

Cultivar traits:
Cultivar Fall color Fruit color Form Mature size
'Bailey Compact' Red-purple Red Shrub, rounded 10' x 10'
'Embers' Scarlet Bright red Rounded 15-20' x 15'
'Flame' Scarlet Bright red Rounded 20' x 20'


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