The Magic of Maple Trees: Creating a Beautiful Landscape in Iowa wallacegardencenter

The Magic of Maple Trees: Creating a Beautiful Landscape in Iowa

These are some of the most dynamic maple tree varieties you can plant for beauty, shade, and privacy.

We love our maple trees, and they're considered our most important timber aside from being beautiful, too. Maple trees adorn many of Iowa's landscapes, with some being native species—like the silver maple, mountain maple, boxelder, black maple, and sugar maple. There are also many varieties that grow well in our climate and make superb ornamentals for any garden. We've got the facts behind Iowa's beloved maple trees and the dazzling variety of choices you've got for your own landscape. Here's how to create a gorgeous landscape with maples!

Red Maple Trees

If you love those deep, rich autumn colors as much as we do, you'll definitely want to consider a red maple tree for your landscape this year. Red maples are usually fast-growing deciduous trees and easy to care for, with bright green leaves in spring and summer that turn dark red in the fall. They are great choices for offering shade in a front or backyard garden and can grow up to 60 feet in about 25 years. Some varieties will stay smaller like Brandywine and some are seedless like Brandywine and Sun Valley. Red maples thrive in full sun but will tolerate partial shade if you can give them 4-6 hours of sun per day. Make sure their soil stays moist with regular watering and give it some loose, well-draining loamy soil for the best overall health.

Some of our favorite red maple and hybrid maple trees for the Iowa landscape include the Acer Royal Red, Armstrong, Brandywine, Red Pointe, October Glory, and Sun Valley. If you're after some great-looking hybrids, try the Autumn Blaze and Sienna Glen, which are half red maple and half silver maple.

Sugar Maple Trees

Sugar maples are important resources in North America, providing hardwood for lumber used in furniture manufacturing as well as flooring. Sugar maples are also where we collect the finest maple syrup and maple sugar, making it the tastiest type of maple, too! Often confused with red maples, they have different-shaped leaves and colors that help with identification. While red maples develop those irresistibly deep red leaves in fall, sugar maple leaves turn from green to shades of yellow, orange, and red. These are some of the most beautiful maples you will spot in autumn, offering a rich show in color every year.

Like red maples, sugar maples prefer full sun and like soil to stay consistently moist but never soggy. These are perfect trees for larger landscapes and offer amazing shade with their large, dense canopies. Some of the best for our area include Autumn Fest, Fall Fiesta, Flashfire, and Green Mountain.

Japanese Maple Trees

We're quite fond of Japanese maples in Iowa and the unique way they light up a landscape all year round. From sculptural bare branches in winter to lush growth in spring and summer all the way through to deep shades of reds and purples in autumn, Japanese maple trees always find an audience. Easily distinguishable with its layered branching and spreading crown, these trees make beautiful ornamental additions to the garden.

They are also hardy and thrive in many climates around the world, making them one of the most popular garden trees to plant! We like the Emperor I, Crimson Queen, Tamukeyama, Bloodgood and Coral Bark varieties. We have been impressed with the more cold tolerant hybrid maples like Ice Dragon, North Wind and Arctic Jade for some serious wow factor.

Norway Maple Trees

Norway maples are incredibly tough trees and can tolerate a wide range of poor growing conditions. They are also resistant to pests and disease and are prolific spreaders, making them invasive in some parts of North America. These are stand-alone trees with large canopies and shallow root systems, which make it hard for anything to grow directly underneath. Plan carefully if you want one of these maples in your landscape! Some favorite cultivars of the Norway maple include the Crimson King (for its burgundy foliage), Royal Red and the Norway Hybrids like Ruby Sunset, Crimson Sunset, and Urban Sunset.

If you'd like to work maple trees into your Iowa landscape this year, these are some of the most dynamic picks you can plant for beauty, shade, privacy, and of course, all of the other benefits of planting trees! Come see us at the garden center for some expert advice on choosing the right maple for your garden and how to make sure it survives the Iowa weather for years to come.

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