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This sturdy hybrid is very common in this region, often serving as a parkway or street tree. It has a brilliant, red-orange color in the fall. Freeman’s maple is a hybrid of the red maple and silver maple; the cross yields both the strong branch attachment of the red maple and fast growth rate of the silver maple. Freeman’s maple is also less susceptible to chlorosis symptoms than the red or silver maples. Freeman’s maple offers a number of cultivars and these are more commonly planted than the species.

This species is a hybrid of two trees that are native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.  

  • Family (English) Soapberry (formerly Maple)
  • Family (botanic) Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Wide median
  • 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 40-60 feet
  • Mature width 20-40 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Columnar, Oval, Pyramidal, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Commonly planted
  • Wildlife Insect pollinators
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

This is of hybrid origin, a cross between two native trees, red maple (Acer rubrum) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum).

Bark color and texture:

Its bark is fairly smooth and silver-gray, becoming fissured with age.

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

Leaves are simple leaves in pairs (opposite) growing 3 to 5 inches long. The 5-lobed leaves are deeply lobed, with toothed sinuses and often resemble those of silver maple. Leaves are medium green with a silvery underside and fall color is red-orange to yellow, variable by cultivar.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are inconspicuous. Some trees will have both male and female flowers, some will have only male flowers.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras) and some cultivars produce no fruit.

Plant care:

Avoid pruning maples in spring as they are ‘bleeders’ and will lose large amounts of sap.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Verticillium wilt (fungus) and maple bladder gall are potential problems for maples. This hybrid has the strong branch attachment of the red maple and fast growth rate of the silver maple and is less susceptible to chlorosis symptoms (yellowing leaves) than red or silver maples.

These plants are cultivars of a hybrid of two trees that are 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.

Armstrong Freeman’s maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Armstrong’): 

This is an upright, narrow form tree growing 50 to 70 feet high and 15 to 20 feet wide. Fall color is an orange-red, depending upon the season.

Autumn Blaze® Freeman’s maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Jeffersred’):  

This cultivar is a rounded to broad oval tree, growing 50 to 60 feet high and 40 to 50 feet wide. It has a strong central leader and better branching habit than silver maple. Fall color is a consistent orange-red. Originally it was thought to be a male tree, but has produced fruit in some cases.

Autumn Fantasy® Freeman’s maple  (Acer x freemanii ‘DTR 102): 

A broadly oval form growing about 50 feet high and 40 feet wide and produces bright red fall color.

Celebration® Freeman’s maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Celzam’): 

A broadly oval form cultivar growing about 50 feet high and 35 feet wide. Leaves are similar to silver maple, but this cultivar has a more uniform growth habit, making it more resistant to storm damage. It is more tolerant of urban conditions. Fall color is yellow to orange.

Firefall™ Freeman’s maple (Acer x freemanii ‘AF#1’):  

An upright oval form growing 50 feet high and 35 feet wide. The orange-red to red fall color develops a little earlier than other cultivars.

Marmo (Acer x freemanii ‘Marmo’): 

This cultivar has a uniform, upright to columnar form.  It grows 45 to 70 feet high and 35 to 40 feet wide. Has a strong central leader and excellent branching habit. Fall color is an interesting mottled blend of red and green to burgundy, and yellow. Produces no fruit. The parent tree was selected from the collections at The Morton Arboretum. A Chicagoland Grows® introduction.

Sienna Glen® Freeman’s maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Sienna’): 

This cultivar has a strong central leader and a uniform, pyramidal shape. It grows 50 feet high and 35 feet wide. Fall color is orange to red-burgundy.

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