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Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

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Zones A2, A3, 1-9, 14-17, 30-43
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water

Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’

Norway Maple
Deciduous, Trees


Maples are a varied group. They may be large and midsize shade trees; smaller trees; and dainty, picturesque shrub-trees. Leaves range from simple ovals to deeply lobed and finely dissected shapes. One element common to all maples is the fruit (seed capsule), which resembles a hardware store wingnut.

Many maples have beautiful fall color. Look for one that colors well in your locale; visit nurseries while the foliage is changing hue.

The larger maples have extensive fibrous root systems that take water and nutrients from the topsoil. The great canopy of leaves calls for a steady, constant supply of water, not necessarily frequent watering but constantly available water throughout the root zone. Occasional deep watering and periodic feeding will help keep roots deep.

Medium to large maple species need little pruning. On smaller types, prune to accentuate the natural shape. To minimize sap bleed, make any cuts in summer or early fall in mild-winter areas, from summer to the end of January where temperatures remain below freezing.

Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Acer platanoides

Native to Europe and western Asia. Broad-crowned, densely foliaged tree to 50–60 ft. tall, from two thirds as wide to equally as wide as high. Leaves five lobed, 3–5 in. wide, deep green above, paler beneath; turn yellow in fall. Showy clusters of small, flowers in early spring.

Very adaptable, tolerating many soil and environmental conditions. Once a widely recommended street tree but now strongly objected to because of voracious roots, self-sown seedlings, and aphid-caused honeydew drip and sooty mold.

‘Crimson King’

Slower growing than the species, to about 40 ft. tall, 30 ft. wide. Holds purple foliage color until leaves drop. Good choice for Northwest and California foothills.

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