Autumn Blaze is the most sought-after maple these days. Today I will try to look at this tree from a consumer point of view.
|Good soil tolerance||Cracking|
|Fast growth rate||Shallow roots|
|Good shade tree||Helicopters|
|Low maintenance requirements|
Pro: Spectacular foliage
One of the most remarkable features of the Autumn Blaze maple is the foliage. The leaf is three inches across and divided into three lobes. The lobes are also slightly slit, which gives the leaf even more charisma.
In the spring and summer, the leaves are a deep green color and look very pretty and fresh. But as soon as autumn comes, the leaves turn bright red. This is a time of feast for the owners of Autumn Blaze.
After the leaves of this maple have fallen, it is time for the cleanup. But this is not a disadvantage as all maples are deciduous. That is why I do not list deciduousness as a disadvantage for Autumn Blaze alone, it is a disadvantage for all maples and many other trees.
Pro: Good soil tolerance
Autumn Blaze tolerates a variety of soil types very well. No matter if you have clay soil, loam, or sandy soil in your yard, this maple will do just fine. In most cases, it will thrive even in poor soil. Only in the first year after planting you should enrich poor soil with organic matter.
As for standing water, Autumn Blaze can tolerate a little waterlogging, which is a definite advantage. It can grow in clay or near a stream and not be uncomfortable.
Another advantage is its tolerance to varying soil acidity. This maple can grow in both acidic and slightly alkaline soils. Only if the pH of the soil is much higher than 7.0, it may have problems with the absorption of trace elements.
Pro: Fast growth rate
People buy big maples to get a privacy or shade screen and time is of the essence here. You don’t want to wait 10 to 20 years to get the results you want.
Autumn Blaze is able to create a privacy screen very quickly because it grows over 2 feet per year and under ideal conditions can grow up to 3 feet in one year. At the same time, most maples typically grow 1-1.5 feet per year.
The advantage of this variety is that you don’t have to do anything to make it grow faster. Once the tree is rooted, it will grow at top speed.
Pro: Good shade tree
In addition to its excellent decorative appearance, Autumn Blaze is also ideal as a shade tree. Its fast growth rate and crown 30 feet across can provide you with a good canopy for shade. A large number of relatively small leaves can create quite dense shade even on the hottest day.
You don’t have to worry about pruning or shaping this maple as the structure of the branches helps create a fairly wide crown. Although the height of this maple exceeds its width this is not a disadvantage as in addition to a large enough shade you will get an excellent privacy screen.
Autumn Blaze tolerates drought very well even though it is a moisture-loving maple. Once the tree is rooted, nothing bad happens to it during summer drought and hot winds. Unlike other maples, it hardly loses its leaves in the absence of rains and in bright sunshine.
The exception is the 1-2-year-old Autumn Blaze which does not yet have a large root system. You should water these trees as soon as the soil is two inches dry. But as soon as the maple starts to grow vigorously, usually the second year after planting, you can forget about watering.
Pro: Low maintenance requirements
Autumn Blaze is one of those trees that needs almost no care. After 1-2 years after planting this tree is able to grow on its own without your intervention and help. It does not need any watering or feeding.
The exception is newly planted maples, they need watering in the first 1-2 years and it is better to add some compost to the planting hole.
Also, make sure the young maple has no pests or diseases. If there are, spray it with horticultural oil or fungicide. But once the tree is big enough, neither diseases nor insects can do it any significant harm.
One of the unfortunate characteristics of some maples is that they have suckers. Unfortunately, Autumn Blaze is no exception in this respect. In case you don’t know, suckers are young shoots that grow from the trunk or surface roots. Sometimes these suckers are very numerous and have to be removed regularly.
If you don’t remove the suckers, they will quickly grow around the trunk and the tree will look like a bush and you won’t be able to get anywhere near it.
In the case of Autumn Blaze, there aren’t many suckers so you don’t have to remove them more than once or twice a year. You do have to remove the suckers because if you don’t, it will, as I said, make the tree look ugly and ruin your lawn.
The second disadvantage of Autumn Blaze is its susceptibility to cracking in storms or heavy snowfalls. Due to the rapid growth rate, the branches of this maple are not strong enough but long enough. If the weather is too harsh, the branches may break and the appearance of the tree will not be pretty.
To avoid this problem you need to trim Autumn Blaze regularly. As a result, the branches will be shorter and thicker, and the crown structure will be more branched. This will provide good wind and snowfall resistance.
For proper pruning of your Autumn Blaze, you are better off having a professional arborist do the pruning.
Con: Shallow root system
One of the parent plants of Autumn Blaze is the Silver Maple. Silver Maples are known to have an aggressive surface root system, resulting in difficulties in their cultivation.
Autumn Blaze has inherited a shallow root system from its ancestor, although not to the full extent. If you want to successfully grow this maple in your yard, make sure you give it plenty of room. This maple should grow no closer than 20 feet to buildings. Also, do not put concrete walkways near this tree.
It is better if this maple grows as a solitaire on a large lawn. Growing shade-loving plants under it is also difficult.
The final drawback of Autumn Blaze is the seeds. Every year this maple produces two-winged seeds that fly around like little helicopters. Next spring, these seeds will sprout and many new plants will emerge.
This is actually quite annoying because it is difficult and time-consuming to collect the seeds. But still, if you regularly mow the lawn under the maple trees, a lot of the seeds will be removed with the grass clippings.
Mowing the grass in the spring will also kill some of the seedlings. You will only have to remove the ones that have reached a noticeable height.