It can be challenging to decide what to include in your landscaping adventures. Autumn blaze maples are beautiful trees that grow quickly and provide a wide breadth of shade on your property, but they can come with downsides like shallow roots and pests. Let’s look at autumn blaze maple pros and cons.
Autumn Blaze Maple Pros
From stunning foliage to rapid growth, autumn blaze maples can significantly add to any property or home.
Beautiful Fall Foliage
Autumn blaze maples have some of the most beautiful fall foliage you can find in North America. Their bright red, five-pointed leaves are sure to make your yard the talk of the street. They retain their incredible color even after they fall to the ground, meaning your leaf piles will look just as colorful as the tree itself!
Fantastic Shade Trees
The autumn blaze makes an excellent shade tree for any property thanks to the maple’s long, overarching branches and broad leaves. This shade can be a huge advantage if you live in a very sunny and hot area but want to grow shade-loving plants.
Increased shade on your property can also lower water bills because you won’t need to water your lawn as frequently. You may have trouble maintaining grass growth immediately under the tree as this area will receive little-to-no sunlight, but it’s a perfect place for a shaded garden, bench, or ground cover area. Wild ginger or bunchberry plants would do exceptionally well.
Great Environmental Adaptability
Established autumn blazes do well in all conditions, whether hot, dry, wet, or cloudy. They need additional care within the first few years, but they can withstand nearly any drought or flood once they’re older. The only potential downside is that you should plant the tree in well-draining soil.
Autumn blaze maples grow exceptionally quickly within the first years of life. In ideal conditions, they can grow up to 3 feet in one year, with the average growth rate at just over 2 feet. Other maples typically grow just over 1 foot per year.
You don’t have to do anything to encourage this rapid growth. It’s part of the tree’s natural growth cycle. Once the tree is rooted, it will grow as quickly as possible. This growth makes it great for a fast privacy screen between neighbors or a good property line indicator.
Autumn Blaze Maple Cons
While these trees are beautiful to gaze at, they come with some drawbacks that all homeowners should be aware of.
Shallow, Widespread Root Systems
One of the reasons the tree grows so quickly is because of the shallow root system. Surface roots can lead to the tree easily tipping over in high winds and structural damage due to concrete or building foundations. The roots can dig their way through cracks in the foundation and cause them to worsen.
The root system doesn’t have to be an issue if you plant the tree away from structures. Be mindful when you mow the area around the tree, as the roots can sometimes peek out of the topsoil after heavy rain. I don’t recommend placing sidewalks or concrete basins near the tree.
Frequent Professional Pruning
Because the tree grows so quickly, the branches can become wild, tangled, and unattractive. You should have the tree professionally pruned every three to five years to maintain the large, rounded crowns that maples are notable for.
Not Great in Storms
Autumn blaze maples are prone to having weak limbs that crack and break during rough storms. Combined with its shallow root system, this tree can tip over if it becomes too top-heavy or side-heavy. These reasons are why professional pruning is so crucial.
This tee may not be the best maple for you if you live in an area prone to tornadoes or hurricanes.
Prone to Pests
Blaze maples are prone to common garden pests like aphids, leafhoppers, scale insects, and spider mites. You’ll have to look out for these pests within the first few years of the tree’s life and then give occasional maintenance.
Getting rid of the pests is relatively simple if you catch them soon enough. Insecticidal soap sprays every two weeks throughout the growing season will kill the insects while preventing new ones from making their home.
Autumn Blaze Maple Pros and Cons: Conclusion
Autumn blaze maples are beautiful additions to most properties but can come with a host of their own problems that don’t make them the best choice for areas prone to extreme weather. They’re fabulous as shade trees, but you shouldn’t plant them near foundations or concrete structures.