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Extension > Garden > Yard and Garden > Trees and Shrubs > Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii)

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Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii)

Rebecca Koetter and Kathy Zuzek

Plant description

Mature height: 40 to 70'
Mature width: 20 to 40'
Growth rate: Fast
Plant form: Upright, oval, pyramidal
Deciduous or evergreen: Deciduous
Native range: A hybrid of red maple and silver maple, both native to the eastern U.S.
Native to Minnesota: None documented
Invasive in Minnesota: No

Culture

Light: Full sun to partial shade
Soil texture: Sandy to clay soils
Soil pH: 5.0 to 7.4
Soil moisture: Average to wet soils and well-drained to poorly-drained soils
Hardiness zone: 3 to 7
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: Moderately tolerant of salt spray and intolerant of soil salt, drought-tolerant

K. Zuzek, UMN Extension

'Autumn Blaze' Freeman maple in autumn

K. Zuzek, UMN Extension

Freeman maple leaf

Freeman maple in the landscape

Freeman maples are hybrids of red maple and silver maple, both of which are native to Minnesota and to the eastern United States. Cultivars of Freeman maples combine the best features of each parental species: stronger wood and branch attachments, good plant form, and red or orange autumn color from red maple and the rapid growth rate, improved drought tolerance, tolerance to higher soil pH, and general adaptability to difficult climatic and soil conditions from silver maple. Freeman maples can be used in urban landscapes as specimen or accent plants and as shade or boulevard trees. Plant Freeman maples in full sun for best fall color. Maples are thin-barked species and are susceptible to frost cracks and sunscald; young trees should be protected with tree guards during winter. Root systems are shallow and can appear above ground with age, making mowing difficult.

Clusters of flowers appear on Freeman maples in spring followed by 5-lobed, 3-5" leaves. Leaf shape is intermediate between silver and red maple and varies from cultivar to cultivar. The fruit is a winged nutlet called a samara that is produced in fused pairs. Fruit ripens quickly and falls in April and May. Some cultivars are seedless. Freeman maples are of particular interest in two seasons: summer and fall. Several cultivars have large, dense canopies that offer much shade during summer months. Freeman maple's main season of interest is autumn because cultivars have been selected for their outstanding orange, red, and yellow fall color.

Some cultivars grown in Minnesota:

Cultivar traits:
Cultivar Fall color Growth habit Mature size
(h x w)
Other
'Armstrong' Red, inconsistent Upright, narrow 50' x 20' -
Autumn Blaze® Orange to red Upright, spreading 50' x 40' Tolerant to varying soil moisture
Firefall™ Orange to scarlet Upright, oval 60' x 40' No seed. Early fall color good for northern regions
First Editions® Matador™ Deep red to orange red Upright, oval 45' x 40' Colors late. Holds leaves longer before falling
'Marmo' Red, green, burgundy, yellow, and gold Upright with strong central leader 70' x 35' Tolerant of heavy clay soils
Sienna Glen® Yellow, orange, and red Pyramidal 60' x 40' Resistant to winter damage

2016

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