I'm confused.....Red Maple, Royal Red Maple, Crimson King...

maggie2(5)May 28, 2011

Disclaimer: I'm a noob, so please go easy on me. :)

I've googled and searched this site for the answer, but I'm still confused. What is the difference between Red Maple, Royal Red Maple and Crimson King? I know they are all Norway Maples, but I also know many of you on this site do not like Crimson King at all. There is one post on this site that lists the Crimson King this way: Crimson King (Red Maple) - so does that mean they are the same? I'm not seeing consistemt information on this. Are any of them desirable to plant or do you have any suggestions on a red/purple/maroon leaved tree?

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pineresin

Red Maple - this is a separate species Acer rubrum. The leaves are only red first thing in spring as they start to open, and again more obviously in autumn; green in summer. Native throughout the eastern half of the USA (so may well be where you are, you don't say in your 'My Page').

'Crimson King' is a cultivar of Norway Maple Acer platanoides, with black / dark purple leaves. An invasive weed in the USA; not desirable.

"There is one post on this site that lists the Crimson King this way: Crimson King (Red Maple) - so does that mean they are the same?"

No; it's an error.

"Are any of them desirable to plant"

Go for Red Maple, or even nicer, Sugar Maple (slightly slower growing, but more attractive, and healthier / longer-lived).

Resin

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Red maple is heavily planted across North America, liable to be present in cultivation whether native or not. Sugar maple can have problems with urban conditions and hot, dry winds.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:37PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Is also frequently sold and planted, often as a red maple in the case of more than one cultivar.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 12:38PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

since you are.. as you say... a noob ....

what is your ultimate goal under your tree???

norways will eventually.. kill even grass under it ... which means you will do no gardening under that tree.. in say.. 10 to 20 years ...

soooo.. if you plan ... long term .. to want to do some shade gardening .. under your trees ... you better find something besides a maple ...

also .. how far from the house ????

there are a multitude of issues to address.. beyond color.. before you decide on planting ... care to give us some facts .... so we might guide you along the decision process ...

ken

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 1:09PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

In my area, with its dry summers Norway maple (the thing is planted everywhere) often gets numbers of aphids which make it look oily with their sticky secretions.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 11:35PM
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maggie2(5)

We have 25 acres of land, 15 of which is filled with Sugar Maple. We built our house on the 10 acres of pasture/prairie, so we need to add some shade trees. I thought it would be nice if we could add some color to all the green. I've planted some Prairie Fire Crab and Royalty Crab, but I thought some shade trees with the red shade of leaves would be nice. The only thing under the trees will be grass and they will be planted anywhere from 25 feet to 100 feet from the house. We live in southeastern Wisconsin - Zone 5. Here's a picture to give you an idea of the situation. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 9:59AM
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drrich2(6)

You asked about red/purple/maroon leaved trees. Being in Zone 5 will limit your options a bit. The Japanese Red Maple includes some cultivars that you might like - Bloodgood, for example, but also Emperor I. Not sure how they'd do in your cold climate, though.

Probably not the size you're after, but would a Velvet Cloak Smokebush be of any interest to you?

I notice people on the forum don't seem to like the purple plum trees (e..g: Thundercloud), If you don't plant it over something where honeydew from aphids raining down is a problem, and can except that it might not live a long time and be have issues with pests, I will say some do make beautiful landscape specimens.

Richard.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 6:56PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

For red foliage I'd go with a Japanese Maple any day over a Norway maple. I'm juste not that impressed with the color of a red norway maple, it strikes me as drab. A red japanese maple should do OK in your zone. I have one called "Fireglow" what I just love, but it is smaller than Bloodgood, which is the standard one you see.

As folks say, a true "red" maple (at least in the fall) has the scientific name Acer rubrum. It may not be red all year long but it is a real beauty in the fall, which is not short season in WI. My friend has a hybrid maple, a cross between red maple and silver maple, called "Autumn Blaze" in her yard, she just loves it. These names like Crimson King, Autumn Blaze, etc., are just trade names given to cultivars of the species tree. You need to know the scientific name of the tree species to tell what kind of characteristics the tree will have. In my experience, Norway maple (Acer plantanoides) just isn't that great of a tree. It's one good characteristic--fast growth, dense shade, is over shadowed by its way of hogging the soil so nothing grows well under it, fizzling out and falling apart after about 80 years, and being invasive to woodlands.

I believe the red maple silver maple cross goes by the scientific name Acer fremanni but I'm not sure.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 5:18PM
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mehearty(So ME z5a)

I have a royal red maple, and it's a beautiful tree. It's a slow grower, but well worth it. The deep purple blends well with the green trees in the lanscaping. It's got a nice, pleasing shape with lots of leaves. I've seen a lot of Crimson Kings in this area looking kind of scraggly, so I'm happy we chose Royal Red. I bet it would look lovely on your property.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 5:57PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

I was always fascinated with Crimson King growing up, and was always disappointed to never find a "true" seedling anywhere near a mature one... always a hybrid which started red but ended up green in summer.

However, the adult in me would strongly resist planting one... large trees should be green. If you want a large, oddly colored tree, then a red variety of Norway may be the way to go... though Copper European Beech may also fit the bill without all the seedlings (however, suckering may be an issue with Beech). Colored foliage seems better suited to small trees such as Japanese Maple.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 7:19PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Where exactly in SE WI are you? There are various micro climates that may allow for certain plantings.

There are several beech trees that may do well.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:46PM
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maggie2(5)

Thanks for all the information everyone.

Richard, I like the idea of Smokebush, but do they grow large enough to be a shade tree?

Whaas, we are in Lake Geneva.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 8:47PM
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drrich2(6)

I did a little searching & got the impression velvet cloak smoketree/bush tends to grow slow, get up to 15 feet tall or a bit taller, and I'm inferring tends to make a multi-trunk shrub moreso than a classic 'lollipop' deciduous tree form.

Aside from Crimson King Norway Maple, I don't know off-hand of any red/maroon/purple big trees. Bloodgood Japanese maple can hit 25 feet or so, but don't hold your breath waiting for it to get that big.

If you're very patient, a Tri-color Beech might be interesting. Some are quite beautiful, and they get decent-sized, but have a rep. for being slow-growing. Definitely not something everybody else has, though.

Richard.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 7:35PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

If you don't plan to do a lot of gardening around these trees and there is decent moisture, Fagus sylvatica 'Riversii' will be perfect. I'm not familar with the nurseries in your area to recommend a source. Minor's in Milwaukee has a quite a few decent specimans.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 11:01PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Copper beeches have much lovlier coloring, IMHO. I was on a walk in my neighborhood yesterday and saw a Crimson maple and a copper beech side by side. No comparison in beauty, BUT, as you probably know, beeches grow slow. You plant a beech for your children, for the future.
There's also a purple leaf plum that eventually gets large enought to be a shade tree, albeit not very much shade.
My mom loves those smoke trees, they are fairly large and have good color. I dunno, maybe they've improved on the color genetics of the norway maple, but olive red drabness is what the ones around here do in most cases. Perhaps someone has had a better experience to report. I'm a big fan of natives, I'd plant a copper beech for the future and a japanes red maple for my lifetime. Ya can't beat the beech maple combo for shade and beauty, IMHO, but I'm a prejudiced north country girl.

I've been to Lake Geneva, LOVELY area!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 1:32PM
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argre

Okay-while you are all at it, how can I tell the difference between Red Sunset and October Glory Maples?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 8:55AM
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    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:05PM
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j0nd03

Argre, the easiest way to tell between an OG and a RS (if you are absolutely sure it is one of the two) OG will have a more filled canopy/branches and RS tends to look a little scraggly, noticeably more leggy than OG. Also, the leaves of the two are actually pretty distinct from each other but you need to be around them for a while before the differences are really noticeable.

John

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 11:42AM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

For shade, I especially like the Sugar maple/Yellow Birch/American Beech with a few pines thrown in for good measure - The so-called "Northern Hardwood Forest". I don't particularly care for trees that are any other color than green, except in the fall! I do like extremely dark-leaved trees, though - I'm looking out my window at a White Ash and a Basswood in by backyard that look really nice, and a few hackberries that don't. Red oak is pretty, too.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 9:05PM
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wisconsitom

The northern hardwoods tree association you mention is indeed one of the finest forest types there is, period. Throw in a few white pine and hemlock, and even red pine(!) as it occurs in places, and you've got one of the finest forests that can be enjoyed. But I'd class both American beech and yellow birch as two of the hardest trees to succeed with in the typical urban situation. Not at all saying don't try. Just be prepared for some difficulty. Those two species take the "moist but well-drained" maxim to its fullest expression.

+oM

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 9:42PM
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