Autumn Blaze® Maple

Acer x freemanii ‘Jeffersred’ PP4,864

Description & Overview

A rapid grower with an upright oval habit, the Autumn Blaze Maple has rich dark green foliage which turns a brilliant orange-red in fall. It also holds its color longer than other selections!

Core Characteristics

Wisconsin Native: No – Variety of North American Native
Mature Height: 40-50 feet
Mature Spread: 40 feet
Growth Rate: Moderate
Growth Form: Upright, dense oval canopy
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Site Requirements: Tolerant of a wide variety of growing conditions
Flower: Insignificant
Bloom Period: April
Foliage: Dark Green
Fall Color: Red-Orange
Fruit Notes: Samara, fewer

Suggested Uses:

Autumn Blaze Maple works well as a shade tree, focal point (specimen) for fall color, or as a street tree.

We grow Autumn Blaze Maple in larger #25 Containers.

Salable #25 Containers. Pictures taken late August.

And only a couple weeks later…

Salable #25 Containers. Pictures taken mid-October.

We also grow Autumn Blaze Maple onto larger sizes in the field (harvested as B&B).

2-inch Caliper B&B. Pictures taken late August.

And only a couple weeks later…

2-inch Caliper B&B. Pictures taken mid-October. Cover crop between rows improves soil fertility.

Wildlife Value:

Although its fruit production is minimal compared to other trees, it can provide good cover for birds and other wildlife in the canopy.

Maintenance Tips:

It’s rapid growth rate means that small trees can develop poor structure if not correctly maintained; however, our trees are professionally field pruned to create strong branches and a dominant central leader. This reduces the need to prune them in the landscape. Freeman Maples (Acer x freemanii cultivars) and Elms (Ulmus spp.) require structural pruning every 5-7 years by a professional arborist to maintain optimal form.

We invite you to check out the Arborist For Hire lookup at the Wisconsin Arborist Association website to find an ISA Certified Arborist near you.


Tar Spot (Rhystima spp.), a common fungal pathogen that affects some maples, like Norway, Silver, and Red maples. This is an ornamental disease and will not kill the tree.

The thin bark of younger trees is easily damaged by lawn equipment or buck rub. Take care when mowing around the tree and apply a trunk guard over fall and winter to protect the trunk from mechanical damage.

Like other Freeman Maples, Autumn Blaze® Maple may produce suckers on the trunk or at old pruning wounds. They should be removed only during the dormant season when they are observed. You can help prevent suckers by maintaining tree vigor.

Young trees can be susceptible to leafhopper and scale damage. If you observe your tree declining or individual branches dying off (known as ‘branch flagging’), consult an arborist to determine what plant health care options are best for your tree.

We’ve noticed that Autumn Blaze® Maple tends to get frost cracks more often than other newer cultivars. If you’re planting in an exposed location, consider Celebration® Maple, Sienna Glen® Maple, or Autumn Fantasy Maple. Autumn Fantasy is the closes substitute in terms of branching and color.

Leaf Lore:

Freeman Maples are noted for their fast growth, uniform habit, and reliable fall color. Since the introduction of the original Autumn Blaze® Maple (US Plant Patent 4864) in 1980, these trees have been heavily planted. While the trees have beautiful fall color, please consider diversity when selecting them for planting. If you or your neighbors already have a Freeman Maple cultivar in the landscape, it’s recommended to pick a different, non-maple species. Remember, Emerald Ash Borer and Dutch Elm Disease were problematic because we relied on only one tree for our boulevards. Let’s not make the same mistake with Freeman Maples.

The Autumn Blaze® Maple is a selection of Freeman Maple (Acer x freemanii), which is a naturally occurring hybrid between our native Silver Maple and Red Maple. Freeman Maples retain the rapid growth of their Silver Maple parent and combine it with the improved structure and fall color of Red Maple. Their fibrous root systems are adaptable to many soil and moisture conditions, making them an ideal choice for landscape plantings in tougher sites. Autumn Blaze® lives up to its name with a brilliant, consistent orange-red fall color.

Companion Plants:

The Autumn Blaze® Maple pairs well with partial-shade perennials planted at its base. Consider using Rozanne Geranium, Hostas, or Coralbells to add color beneath the tree.

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