Autumn Blaze Maple Tree - Growing & Care Guide
Autumn Blaze maple trees have stunning fall foliage with branches that are rounded or oval. These trees are a hybrid species of red maple and silver maple and boast beautiful reddish-orange color that looks spectacular in any landscape.
If you’re interested in growing the Autumn Blaze, you’ll be pleased to know that this maple tree is extremely hardy and can withstand most climatic conditions. In this article, get to know all the important growing and caring tips for the Autumn Blaze maple so you can enhance your landscape with this fall tree.
Autumn Blaze Maple Quick Overview
|Botanical Name||Acer x freemanii|
|Plant type||deciduous tree|
|Hardiness zone||3 to 8|
|Fertilizer||high-nitrogen feed from second year|
|Max growth||50 feet|
|Light||full sun to partial shade|
|Water||during the first growing season|
|Pests||mites, scales, borers|
Interesting Facts About Autumn Blaze
- This tree is a subspecies of half red maple and half silver maple, which are both hardy trees.
- Autumn Blaze is a popular landscaping tree because of its fall-color foliage. This tree’s foliage is a combination of deep red with a golden-orange tinge that makes it truly blazing with color!
- The height of this tree can reach as high as 50 feet and it spreads as wide as 40 feet.
- The bark of this maple tree is smooth with a shade of white during its early years. As the tree matures, its bark turns into a darker shade of brown.
- To enhance the color of this tree’s foliage, slightly increase the acidity of its soil.
- This maple tree can grow as tall as 7 feet within a year! This is a great plus point for those who want to grow the tree in their garden.
- This tree blooms in spring and sheds its small flowers by fall. But it’s not the flowers of the tree that make it stand out; it’s the fall foliage that people look forward to seeing.
- When fully grown, the tree develops an oval crown that can be maintained by regular pruning during its early years.
How to Care for Your Autumn Blaze Maple
When the maple tree is newly planted in the ground, flood its soil with water to help settle the roots. You must then provide the tree with regular watering during its first growing season (up to 4 times per week). As a rule of thumb, a young Autumn Blaze will need around 20 gallons of water a week divided into 3 sessions.
The good news is, Autumn Blaze is a hardy tree that can tolerate most weather conditions, from freezing cold temperatures of the Northern US to the heat and humidity of the southern regions. This high adaptability is thanks to its parent trees, the red and silver maple.
If you live in a northern or cold climate, give your tree plenty of direct suns. In warmer regions, these trees require a little shade to prevent heat stress.
You shouldn’t fertilize your newly planted Autumn Blaze until after its first growing season. From the second year, you may give the soil a boost by feeding it a high-nitrogen fertilizer in early spring or fall.
Since Autumn Blaze maples are the easiest trees to care for, all you need to do is ensure their soil is well-drained and moist. Having said that, these trees do tolerate poor soil because of their parents’ hardy characteristics.
Growing Autumn Blaze Maple Trees From Cuttings
Growing an Autumn Blaze from cuttings is the easiest way to increase their population in your garden. To propagate this tree, take several 4-inch cuttings from the tips of young maples in summer or fall. Be sure to remove the leaves from the lower sections of the stem.
The next step is to scrape the stem’s lower bark using a clean knife before placing it in the rooting hormone. The cutting is then ready to be planted in a pot. Stick the lower 2 inches in moist soil.
For increased air circulation around the plant, add humidity by enclosing the pot with a plastic bag with a bottom cut out.
Once the cutting takes root, remove the plastic bag, and plant it in a sunny location in your garden.
Optimal Planting Time
To help your Autumn Blaze maple grow in optimal conditions, give it a good start by planting the tree in fall when the soil is moist and the weather is cooler. It will be simpler to maintain the soil moisture during this season.
To plant your tree in the garden, dig a hole twice the width of your maple’s root ball. The depth of the hole should be a few inches smaller. Keep the bottom soil firm so the tree can remain stable. You won’t need to add any mulch or fertilizer to the soil.
With the fall’s shorter days and longer nights, your newly planted tree’s roots can flourish over winter and prepare itself for the upcoming growing season.
After planting your tree, water the soil deeply to help retain moisture. If there is lots of weed growing around the tree, they will deprive your maple of the essential nutrients, so keep around 1 foot of the surrounding area completely weed-free. Make sure you frequently water the newly planted tree for the first several months. Once it gets established, reduce the waterings to help the roots grow deep and wide.
Keep in mind that after the first growing season, you won’t need to maintain your Autumn Blaze as often. Aside from infrequent fertilizing and pruning, the tree will happily grow at a fast rate in any climatic condition.
Common Pests and Diseases
Diseased foliage: brown spots on the leaves of your maple tree are usually a sign of leaf spot or tar spot disease. The good news is, these diseases can easily be rectified and rarely cause problems. Spray the tree with a fungicide if you notice a severe case of brown spots. Make sure the fungicide you use is specially formulated for maple trees.
If you live in a hot climate, the brown spots may have been caused by drought or dry, windy weather. In these cases, increase watering to relieve the symptoms. If the leaves are heat stressed, this means the tree is unable to take up enough water through its roots.
Diseased wood: the brown sunken areas on the bark are usually caused by cankers. They make the branches more susceptible to breakage and even ooze discharge from the trunk. Wilt is another cause of diseased wood and is noticeable on the limpy leaves along with brown spots on the inner wood layers. In severe cases, it’s best to trim the infected branches. Make sure you sterilize your pruning tools in between the cuts by dipping them in a mixture of chlorine bleach and water.
Insects: there are several pests that can cause brown spots on Autumn Blaze maples. Scales grow in colonies within the branches and trunk. They can be brown, orange or green, depending on the species. To treat, use insecticidal oil until there is no sign of infestation.
Mites and flathead tree borers can also cause spots on the foliage or lesions on the trunk and branches. If infested, the outer layer of the bark may start peeling away, thus causing tree death. While these pests are quite difficult to control on established maples, you can still spray an insecticide, like permethrin, on the tree’s trunk in spring.
How long do Autumn Blaze cuttings take to root?
It may take around 8 to 10 weeks as the cuttings require optimal conditions. If kept indoors, place the cuttings near a window that receives direct sunlight. Keep the cutting warm and humid until it starts rooting. You can then place it in a pot.
How far should I plant my Autumn Blaze from my house?
Just as with any large tree, your maple should be planted at least 15-20 feet away from your home in order to avoid foundation damage.
Why are the leaves on my Autumn Blaze turning brown and falling off?
This may be a sign of underwatering. If the leaves are falling prematurely, or they are changing color, check the soil’s condition and moisture. Drought stress can dry the leaves while over-irrigation can also kill the roots. Always keep an eye on the moisture level of your soil and make sure it is well-drained.
When is the best time to prune my Autumn Blaze maple?
The best time to prune an Autumn Blaze is in late winter or early spring. These are the seasons that your tree is dormant. You may also trim the tree in summer if you want to stunt the growth of its top branches.
With our Autumn Blaze growing and caring tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning fall foliage of this maple tree for years to come. If you found this article informative, share it with your friends, and feel free to leave your comments below.