Thursday, October 16, 2014
Focus on Plants - Flame Amur Maple
Botanical Name: Acer ginnala ‘Flame’
Flowers: Dainty white/pale yellow flowers - fragrant
Leaves: 3” Leaves with 3 lobes, bright green color in summer turning scarlet in autumn
Sun: Sun or partial shade
Water: Average water needs
Size: 15-20’ tall, 15-28’ spread
Fragrance: Spring scent
Attracts: Bees, butterflies and birds
Tolerant of: Deer, rabbits, drought, shade, salt
Issues: Susceptible to iron chlorosis
The Flame Amur Maple is a versatile, ornamental plant. It is classified as both a small tree and a large shrub and can be found both as a multi stemmed or single leader tree. The Flame Amur Maple is a round tree, reaching 15- 20 feet tall and 15-28 feet in spread, it can thrive in an urban setting due to its petite size and can be grown as a bonsai. The Flame Maple has 3 inch leaves, consisting of 3 lobes that are toothed. The bark is a thin, dull gray brown and smooth. In the summer, the tree is a bright green color and by autumn transforms into a bright scarlet hue. The samara, which is the maple seed, also changes color from a light tan to a red.
The Flame Amur Maple is the most cold tolerant of all the Maple varieties and can be grown in zones 2 to 8. The tree does well in urban settings and can handle some salt and drought. The tree can be grown both in the shady and sunny conditions, yet its fall color is best when grown in full sun. The tree prefers moist, well drained soils, yet is moderately drought tolerant and is considered suitable to xeriscape conditions. For steady growth of 3- 4 feet per year, supplement the tree with average water needs, especially during establishment.
The Flame Maple originates in Asia, specifically Korea, Japan, Mongolia and Siberia. The tree’s original use was as a substitute for tea leaves. It was also used for its pigment extraction of black, blue and brown dyes. In 2014, the tree’s most noteworthy use is its medicinal use in cancer research. In the tree’s natural setting, it works well in tree strips and windbreaks, and does well in urban settings. It helps in controlling soil erosion and provides a colorful privacy buffer when used as a hedge or screen. The Flame Amur Maple it’s a major attractor of wildlife. It is browsed by deer and rabbits and the seeds are eaten by squirrels. It specifically attracts bees, butterflies and songbirds.
The Flame Amur Maple is generally free of pests yet occasionally is infested with aphids, scales, borers and spider mites. It is also prone to yellow bellied sapsucker. The tree is also subject to iron chlorosis. Iron chlorosis is the yellowing of plant leaves due to iron deficiency, frequently occurring in soils that are alkaline and/or poorly drained soils. Also, be aware that the tree is highly sensitive to phenoxy herbicides.