Maple trees have long been a mainstay in the urban landscape. Some older maple varieties can be problematic, however, some new varieties look very promising.
By far, the silver maple is the most common maple found in the urban landscape because it grows quickly. This tree performs poorly in heavy alkaline clay soils because it is often plagued by iron chlorosis. Silver maples will grow well in loamy soil with neutral pH or a sandy soil. Silver maples are soft wooded and break easily in storms. They become susceptible to rot as they age which may cause the tree to fall apart.
The following maples are more adaptable to Colorado.
Norway maples are hard wooded and less susceptible to storm damage. The leaves are very dark green in color. The tree has a rounded crown which casts a dense shade. If planted in a dry or hot site, the leaves will scorch in the summer heat. Several popular varieties selected for spring and summer leaf color include Deborah, Schwedler and Royal Red.
Autumn Blaze maple is a new hybrid that is very popular. It is a cross between red and silver maples. It is fast growing, but does suffer some from iron chlorosis. Fall color is a stunning orange to red.
Amur or ginnala maple is another maple suitable for small areas. It has beautiful red, orange or yellow fall color. It is not as well adapted to Colorado because it suffers from iron and other nutrient deficiencies resulting in yellow summer foliage.
Tatarian maple is recommended for smaller areas as the mature size is 20 feet tall. The tree has red, winged seeds and very attractive orange to yellow fall color. It can be grown as a large multi-stemmed shrub or small tree.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).
- Xeriscaping: Trees and Shrubs
- Choosing a Soil Amendment
- Trees and Shrubs for Mountain Areas
- Small Deciduous Trees
- Large Deciduous Trees