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What is a Flame Maple?

Misty Amber Brighton
Misty Amber Brighton

A flame maple is a type of tree renowned for its brilliant fall foliage. It is a medium-sized specimen that can tolerate a variety of growing conditions. It can sometimes attract bees, butterflies, and wildlife. This variety is found in most areas of the United States.

In the spring, pale green leaves usually emerge from brown or red buds. These fronds normally turn a dark green color in early summer. A small white flower is sometimes noticed in the spring, just before the shoots open.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

In the autumn, the green leaves of a flame maple give way to bright red or orange-colored foliage. A few of these might have purple splotches on them as well. A single tree is normally only one color. From a distance, these hardwoods can appear to be on fire, hence the name.

Like most species of maple tree, this type is also deciduous. This means the leaves normally fall off in late fall or early winter. Often the color of the foliage changes from red to brown just before this happens.

This species typically grows to be around 30 feet (9.15 m) tall when fully mature. It can sometimes spread anywhere from 20 to 30 feet (6.1 to 9.15 m) in width. The branches usually begin fairly low to the ground — four or five feet (1.22 to 1.53 m) is a common height for the lower limbs.

This tree can withstand a variety of growing conditions. The flame maple is generally hardy in areas where temperatures dip as low as -50°F (-45.5°C) in the winter. It generally thrives in a variety of soils, although it does best when the pH is slightly acidic, or between 5.6 and 6.5. It typically needs very little water and can often withstand short periods of drought without dying.

The sap of a flame maple might be harvested to produce pancake syrup. The tree could also be cut down to provide firewood or lumber. It is sometimes planted to prevent erosion, beautify a landscape, or to provide shade for a section of a yard or a small building.

This species is one that can be enjoyed by nature-lovers through all seasons of the year. It does not normally interfere with power lines, so it can be a good choice for both rural and urban areas. Homeowners who plant a flame maple may add value and beauty to their property.

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      Man mowing the grass