Brandywine maple is a wonderful plant that has many advantages. That’s why homeowners are increasingly choosing this variety for their yards. Every plant has pros and cons and today’s hero is no exception.
In this article, I will try to give as much detail as possible about all the facts related to Brandywine maple. I hope this information will help you make the right choice.
This variety belongs to the species Acer rubrum. It was obtained by hybridization in the mid-1990s. The parent cultivars are ‘October Glory’ and ‘Autumn Flame’.
|Beautiful foliage||Low heat tolerance|
|Compact size||Watering needs|
|Good shade tree||It is difficult to grow other plants under it|
|Tolerates a wide range of growing conditions|
|High resistance to pests|
|Less messy than other maples|
Pro: Beautiful foliage
The first undoubted advantage of this maple is the leaves. In spring and summer, they are green, but that does not mean that they are not beautiful. The shape of the leaves is very interesting, which creates a unique green pattern against the sky.
The real spectacle begins in the fall or late summer. The leaves turn into fiery red spots and the tree looks like it’s on fire. This beauty can last long enough until the leaves fall off. During this period, you will see a wide variety of colors such as Blood Red, Fire Orange, Burgundy, and more.
Pro: Compact size
Brandywine maple is a relatively small tree. It reaches a height of 30 feet and a width of 20 feet. Agree that this is quite small compared to other maples.
The shape of this tree is a little bit elongated but still, you get a pretty nice tree. Also, maples are easy to prune and you can make them into any shape you want.
Another small advantage is the fast growth rate. Once you have planted this maple, you will soon be able to enjoy its foliage.
Thanks to its compact size, this maple does not require much space in the garden and this is probably the main reason why people choose it. While a large tree is quite difficult to maintain and requires more attention.
Pro: Good shade tree
Although this maple is larger in height than in width, it still creates a wide enough canopy under which you can hide from the summer heat.
The foliage of this tree is quite thick and the sun’s rays do not penetrate it very well. So you can arrange a place for picnics or rest under it.
Also, due to its small size, it will not shade other trees. The shade will only be underneath it. Of course, this is if you do not plant other trees very close.
Pro: Tolerates a wide range of growing conditions
The ability to adapt to the environment is one of the main advantages of this plant. In fact, it is very easy to care for and does not require anything special.
This is especially true for the soil. Brandywine maple is tolerant to different types of soil. It grows equally well in clay or sandy soil, as well as in loam or rocky soil.
So does the acidity of the soil. Slightly acidic or slightly alkaline soil is no problem for it.
The second is light. You can plant it in full sun or semi-shade and it will thrive. The only unacceptable is a complete absence of direct sunlight. In this case, the maple will have few leaves and branches. So give it at least 6 hours of direct sun.
Also, if you live in 8-9 USDA hardiness zones it will be good if this maple is in a little shade for part of the day.
Pro: High resistance to pests
Compared to other maples and among trees in general, Brandywine is considered one of the most resistant to pests. This is especially true of the leafhopper, as it is the main enemy of garden plants.
Other insect pests such as aphids, cottony scale, boxelder bugs do not bother this tree much. The same can be said about mites, they also rarely attack Brandywine maple.
But you still shouldn’t be too careless, because in the absence of other plants pests might still damage it. You should check the tree from time to time and, if you find pests, immediately spray it with neem oil or pesticide.
Pro: Less messy than other maples
The last advantage of Brandywine is less trashiness. Of course, it also sheds its leaves for the winter and you have to clean up anyway, but there is still a difference in that regard.
Since Brandywine is a hybrid it inherits the one peculiarity that all plants of this variety are male. As a result, the flowers do not produce fruit (seeds) and they are also small in size.
This feature greatly simplifies the life of the owner because he does not have to clean the seeds and flowers after flowering. Besides, you will not have maple seedlings in your garden as is often the case with other varieties.
Con: Low heat tolerance
Now let’s talk a little bit about the disadvantages of Brandywine maple. Unfortunately, he has those too.
The first thing worth noting is that it cannot be grown all over the United States. It’s recommended that you grow it in 4-9 USDA hardiness zones. That means for zones 10-11 it’s not available because it can’t handle the hot southern climate.
Also as I mentioned above if you live in zone 9, you have to give some shade to this maple to keep the leaves from scorching in the heat.
Although it should be said here that almost no maples can withstand the heat of zones 10-11. But if you compare Brandywine maple to other trees, the lack of heat tolerance is definitely a disadvantage.
Con: Watering needs
Increased requirements for the amount and frequency of watering are a feature of most maples. Brandywine is no exception; it cannot be called a drought-tolerant tree.
Watering is especially important in the first 2-4 years after planting. Until the tree develops a massive root system, it needs regular watering. Water it with at least one gallon of water once or twice a week when it is not raining.
Once the maple has established itself, you can reduce the frequency of watering. But not watering at all does not mean the tree will die, it will have fewer leaves and grow slower.
Con: It is difficult to grow other plants under it
It is widely known that maples have an aggressive root system with many small roots that grow mainly in the top layer of soil. As a result, it is almost impossible to grow other plants under their canopy.
This is primarily true of silver maple but also applies to Brandywine maple. You can’t do anything with silver maple, no perennials or annuals will survive under it. With Brandywine maple, it’s a little different.
To successfully grow other plants under Brandywine, such as hostas, you have to choose vigorous varieties. They have to be strong enough to fight for their place.
The next thing is to trim the maple roots at least once a year with a shovel around the other plants to a depth of no more than 10 inches. Also, feed and water the plants more often.