June 13, 2016 0

Trees of Colorado: Crimson King Norway Maple

The Crimson King is one of a number of maples that adapt well to the high plains environment of Colorado's Front Range. As its name implies, its leaves are red/burgundy in summer, changing to yellow or brown in late fall making it a popular ornamental tree in landscapes.

Medium-Sized Height with Dense, Rounded Foliage

The Crimson King is a medium-size tree, 40-60 feet tall with a span of around 30-45 feet. Its dense, rounded foliage makes it a great shade tree with several feet of headroom below its lower branches at maturity. Its density also keeps much light from reaching the ground, so other plants, including grass, may not grow well in its shade.

Its familiar star-shaped leaves, portrayed on the Canadian flag, are 4-7 inches long with five lobes, two of which are considerably smaller. It produces unremarkable small green flowers in early spring that become double seed pods (called samaras) with two “helicopter” wings that help wind carry the seeds away from the parent tree to propagate.

Growing Conditions and Maintenance

Seedlings transplant readily in many types of soil and withstand urban pollution well. They like full sun and average to moist soil, but adapt well to all but the driest Front Range conditions and are hardy to Zone 4.

The Crimson King Norway Maple is susceptible to Verticillium Wilt, which can cause leaf blight, but is generally a low-maintenance tree. Pruning, when needed, should be limited to summer after it has fully leafed out to avoid sap bleed in early spring or fall. Watch for seedlings that sprout from its seed drop and pull as needed. It has shallow roots that can cause damage to paved areas if planted too close, and its height means it should be kept away from power lines.

Long Lifespan and Many Varieties

The Crimson King grows at a medium rate, and healthy trees can be expected to live 100 years or more, giving pleasure to generations.

There are several cultivars of Norway Maples, including a dwarf variety, so choose one that’s right for your landscape. And if you’re planning to add a maple to your landscape, or have one that needs maintenance, give us a call for a free planting estimate at 303-623-8733.

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