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Acer Freemanii or Freeman’s Maple is a large deciduous tree and a member of the maple family. A sturdy hybrid with a brilliant, red-orange autumn colour, it is a hybrid cross of the Red Maple (Acer Rubrum) and Silver Maple (Acer Saccharinum), both parents being Chicago natives. The resulting characteristics include excellent growth from Rubrum and fast growth rate from Saccharinum, combined with good autumn colour.
Acer Freemanii was developed in the 1930’s at the United States National Arboretum. The large leaves, in the typical maple-leaf shape, are green in spring and summer, turning to brilliant shades of orange and red in autumn. The smooth, silvery bark has ornamental value in the winter months.
Acer Freemanii will grow up to a mature height of 25 metres and spread of 15 metres in 25 to 50 years. The tree’s crown forms an upright, broad oval, and requires pruning only to remove dead or damaged branches. Its root system is shallow and as it matures will reach the soil surface, so planting near pavement should be avoided. If planting multiple specimens, place them 9-12 metres apart.
Plant Acer Freemanii in full sun or partial shade in a sheltered position with any aspect, in moist but well-drained soil with an acid to neutral pH. It is particularly versatile in regards to soil moisture conditions, as it will tolerate both wet soil or even periods of standing water, as well as dry conditions once it is established! Tolerant of pollution, Freeman’s Maple is a good tree for city planting. Acer Freemanii should be kept out of very windy locations, as the branches can be brittle and prone to break if not sheltered.
A single specimen of Acer Freemanii can make an excellent focal point in a medium to large lawn, where the dense canopy will provide good shade during the summer months, and then the brilliant autumn foliage will be the centre of attention as the season ends. On a larger country property, a row of Freeman’s Maple along an avenue will be ornamental throughout the year. A grouping in the landscape will be especially striking during the autumn foliage display.
Choose Acer Freemanii if you are looking for a hardy ornamental landscape tree, whether in the city or country (as resistant to deer). See also Acer Freemanii Autumn Blaze.