Content Detail

Trident maple is a medium-sized tree that can be used as a street tree or specimen. The trident-shaped leaves turn shades of red and orange in autumn.

  • Family (English) Soapberry (formerly Maple)
  • Family (botanic) Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Restricted sites, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Mature height 25-35 feet
  • Mature width 15-25 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Oval, Round
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Wildlife Insect pollinators
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Trident maple is native to China and Korea.

Bark color and texture: 

Bark is gray, becoming scaly and flaky with age. Flaking reveals inner bark which is orange-brown, which gives the bark some ornamental appeal.

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

Leaves are arranged in pairs (opposite). Growing 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long with three forward-pointing lobes, the leaf has a trident shape. Dark green in summer, leaves change to yellow, orange, and red in fall. Color can vary from year to year.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Inconspicuous, small flowers are held in clusters in early spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Fruit are pairs of winged seeds (samaras).

Plant care:

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

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Verticillium wilt is a potential problem for maples.

Streetwise® trident maple (Acer buergerianum ‘Streetwise’):  

New foliage emerges red-purple and then changes to green for summer. Autumn color is burgundy-red. Bark exfoliates (peels) when young.


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