The lush, incredibly appealing vivid red foliage that emerges in the autumn gives red maple trees their name.
I see a lot of homeowners and gardeners hesitate about adopting a big plant because they are not so ready for a lengthy waiting period ahead, though it is relatively understandable.
So how fast do red maples grow exactly?
The good news is red maples produce lovely color and tone in a reasonably short amount of time. Keep reading to find your answer.
How Fast Do Red Maples Grow?
Red maples, or Acer Rubrum, are fast-growing trees with annual growth of 12-18 inches on average, equaling 20-30 years to mature.
They are a well-liked option for yards since they provide stunning color and substantial shade in a comparatively short amount of time.
Maples are quickly developing plants in general, and red maple is one of the speediest ones in the genus.
Nevertheless, it may take several decades for red maple trees to reach their maximum height.
Usually, it would take 20 to 30 years for a red maple to mature and reach the full size of 40 – 60 ft. height and 40 – 50 ft. width. Some larger plants can grow up to 90-120 ft. tall.
The lifespan of these towering shade trees is about 80 years to a century.
Growth Rate Of Some Specific Red Maple Varieties
Red maple trees come in more than 20 varieties, each with distinctive fall foliage colors, leaf shapes, and of course, growth rates. Here are the 6 most favored candidates:
Red Sunset Maple
This type of red maple is well-known for its sturdy branches with striking fall color all over its leaves, blossoms, buds, twigs, and fruits.
Additionally, as the name “Sunset” suggests, their crimson glossy leaves will turn orange and bright red in the fall.
Red Sunset Maple grows quickly and typically reaches heights of 45 – 50 ft and a spread of 35 – 40 feet wide in size. There is an average addition of 1.5 – 2.5 feet to its height each year.
October Glory Red Maple
October Glory Maple is one of the fastest-paced members in the family of Red Maples, which can grow around 24 inches in a single year.
This variety has the same height as the Red Sunset, but its spread is not particularly wide, only between 25 and 35 feet.
The hardiness zones of 4-9 are ideal for the plant’s growth to a substantial height of 50 feet in 20 – 25 years.
Due to its fall beauty and landscaping appeal, it is a popular choice among Americans for their front yards.
Autumn Blaze Red Maple
Autumn Blaze is a Red Maple hybrid with spectacular orange-red foliage in autumn.
Native to North America, it has a form of oval crown and grows extensively at the rate of roughly 2 feet every year in proper conditions.
This landscape specimen is not picky of soil, so it is usually planted in metropolitan areas and on busy roadways as pollution-tolerant plants.
Redpointe Red Maple
An option of medium-sized red maple for yards with limited space is Redpointe Red Maple. It is also a good consideration for novice growers as it requires minimal effort of care and maintenance.
Unlike other relatives in the family, Redpointe is a tortoise in terms of the red maple tree growth rate. It would slowly reach 40–50 feet tall and 25 inches wide at maturity in 30 years.
Scarlet Sentinel Maple
Another variant of the fast American red maple tree growth rate that is indigenous to the Eastern US is the Scarlet Sentinel Maple – a cross between the Red Maple and the Silver Maple.
A mature giant lawn tree of this type can reach a height of 40 to 45 feet and a span of 20 to 25 feet with fully upright branches.
Japanese Red Maple
A harmonious combination of leaf shape, bark textures, and vibrant shades constantly shifting from season to season give the tree a highly-desirable autumn display.
However, gardeners might get impatient as it has the slowest red maple growth rate out of the tree genus, about 12 inches per annum on average.
On average, a Japanese maple attains an ultimate height of 15-20 feet within 15 years.
Japanese red maple is commonly mistaken for Chinese maple. Click here for a detailed comparison between these two siblings.
Tips For Red Maple Trees Growth Boosting
Although red maples are fairly easy-to-grow plants, you can stimulate the red maple tree growth rate by providing them with an ideal habitat condition and proper care.
Where Do Red Maples Grow Best?
Red Maples thrive best in hardiness zones 3 through 9, suggesting that these hardy trees can endure temperatures of -40 to 30°F.
Red maples are wetland species, so their popularity is found in lush woodlands or wet bottomlands in the north.
They can still grow from humid Newfoundland all the southern way down to the dry, hot Carolinas.
The red maple is able to adapt to various soil types thanks to its adaptable roots.
In soggy soil, swamp maple tends to develop long lateral roots and a small taproot to absorb water from the earth’s surface and vice versa if grown in dry soil.
That said, red maple trees will flourish at their best in loamy, moist, and well-drained soil.
They also prefer pH-neutral to acidic soil to alkalinity that results in pale leaves and poor growth.
You would be in awe of the noticeably fast growth rate of red maple in a favorable condition.
How fast does a maple tree grow? Native to swamp forests, the amount of water intake dominantly determines the development rate.
It is vital to always keep moist soils, especially within the first growing season, to encourage sturdy roots.
After establishing, the plant requires less watering, but it should still be maintained a wet soil environment.
Remember not to overwater and underwater; the best is slow and deep watering. When you check the soil surface and feel it dry, it is the proper time to rewater it.
For those who frequently neglect the tree’s thirst, I recommend putting a substantial organic mulch layer around the tree’s base to slow down evaporation.
Full sun is ideal for red maples, but they can also bear partial shade. Regardless of the situation, you need to have them exposed to direct sunlight for at least six hours daily.
For pot-grown plants, a south-facing position by windows would make a better sense of light provision.
Feeding your new red maple tree seedling seems unnecessary. Fertilization when the root is not strong enough will lead to a reverse effect. Instead, wait until the second spring after planting your tree.
If needed, nitrogen-rich fertilizers would work best for red maple trees. My common recipe is 15 pounds of NPK 20-5-5 fertilizer per 1000 sq ft. in the spring.
The amount and type of added nutrients should be controlled carefully, as excessive nitrogen fertilization can also distort the maple growth rate.
Red maples’ hardiness zones range widely from 3 to 9, so they can survive through different temperatures and humidity. These hardy shade trees are also less influenced by hot or cold weather.
However, they would enjoy and develop quicker in cooler weather.
Pruning is normally optional, but it is advisable if you desire to maintain your fast-growing red maple a well-shaped appearance.
Avoid removing branches with a diameter larger than a few inches due to their relative sensitivity to pruning.
The ideal time to prune is from May to early June or the last summer days to the beginning of fall, depending on the specific regional climate.
In every case, you should only perform pruning when maple sap production is at its lowest.
Picking The Right Type Of Maple Tree For the Best Growth Rate
Selection of a red maple tree involves a number of attributes to consider, including how big does a red maple tree get besides its growth rate and planting requirements.
Some red maple species stay small and shrub-like or cease expanding when 20 – 30 ft tall. Meanwhile, others will become towering giants that occupy a lot of space.
For Small Yards
A massive sugar maple, black maple, or sycamore with heights of more than 100 feet will not be a wise choice if your yard is modest.
Instead, you’d better consider medium-sized maples like Japanese, Korean, Norway, or paperbark maple trees.
Keep in mind to take expansion room and tree roots into account when you decide to plant a maple tree.
Trees with a mature height greater than a one-story house must be planted at least 20 feet away to mitigate the risk of fallen trees or invasive roots into the construction foundation.
For Big Yards
How tall does a red maple tree grow? This is less of a concern for owners of large yards.
In this case, big landscape trees of 70 to over 100 feet in height, such as silver maples, sugar, sycamore, and red maples, can be adopted.
Fast-growing trees with soft limbs and trunks, like the silver maple, can break or fall in strong winds and during severe storms despite being classified as hardwood trees.
Therefore, you need to plant them quite at a minimum distance of thirty feet away from any buildings or electricity lines.
For Fall Color
Most maple trees have a spectacular autumn palette, but certain varieties have more bright hues than others.
Look for red maples, Japanese, sugar, autumn blazing, Norway, amur, and striped maple trees for a jaw-dropping display of fall colors.
If you want to build a more diverse autumn garden with different shades and leaf shapes, consider a dogwood tree additionally.
When To Plant Red Maples?
The ideal time for red maple planting is in the fall as it gives enough time to acclimatize the roots to the fresh soil before the freezing weather hits.
Moisture and nutrients for new branches, leaves, and blossoms in spring are also delivered during this time.
Is Red Maple a Good Shade Tree?
Yes. Red maples are lovely shade trees commonly planted as landscape or street trees.
Because American red maple trees grow quickly and attain a height of over 60 feet, they can provide a lot of shade for your entire garden area, not to mention the aesthetic appreciation of scarlet foliage.
Can Red Maples Grow Indoors?
Totally yes, as long as you are able to control their growth. In this case, you must sacrifice the slower growth rate of a maple tree for its accommodation inside your home.
How fast do red maples grow? A red maple tree has many excellent traits for a perfect landscape tree without concern about their growth rate and maintenance requirements.
The only problem when planting a red maple might be calculating enough space for its remarkable height and spread.
However, you will find all are worthy eventually when seeing the results of a glorious fall garden full of scarlet maple leaves.