Content Detail

The CRESCENDO™ sugar maple was introduced by The Morton Arboretum through Chicagoland Grows®. Its dark green leaves turn orange-red in the fall. Once established, this tree is tolerant of heat and drought. 

This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.

  • Family (English) Soapberry (formerly Maple)
  • Family (botanic) Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)
  • Planting site Residential and parks
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 40-45 feet
  • Mature width 30-35 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Round
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Commonly planted, Intolerant of pollution
  • Wildlife Game birds, Insect pollinators, Small mammals, Songbirds
  • Has cultivars NA

Size and form:

This cultivars mature height is 40 to 45 feet and mature width is 30 to 35 feet.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This is a cultivated variety of a native species.

Bark color and texture:

The bark is dark gray. On older trees it is ridged and furrowed or sometimes platy.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The dark green 3 to 6 inch long leaves have three to five lobes that change to orange-red in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are small, inconspicuous, and not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras), about 1 inch long.

Plant care:

CRESCENDO™ sugar maple is best grown in full sun and evenly moist soil. The soil should be acidic to slightly alkaline. This tree is tolerant of heat and drought. Maples are considered ‘bleeders’ and are best pruned in early winter or during summer.  

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

Verticillium wilt (fungus) is a potential problem for maples. It is tolerant of black walnut toxicity.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift