Although the Red Maple trees, or Acer rubrum, have red spring flowers, wonderful shade, and exceptional fall color, they are, as a species, an ornamental inferiority to the flaming Sugar Maple. The Red Maple does hold one trump card over the Sugar Maple however: it tolerates urban conditions much better. Is there any way to have the best of both of these worlds? There is! The Red Maple cultivar 'Sun Valley' has been selected for superior ornamental traits almost matching those of the Sugar Maple, while retaining the amenability to urban culture of the Red Maple. 'Sun Valley' maple is a very desirable tree.
With its smaller leaves and lovely orange-red fall color, the spring flowers and fall color of 'Sun Valley' are enhanced by blending it with evergreens. Pruning to develop structure is very important as this tree is prone to developing co-dominant stems. 'Sun Valley' maple grows 50'-60' high and 30'-40' wide and is tolerant of both wet and dry soils.
One word of caution is in order: Red Maple trees are widely planted, sometimes to the point of creating mono-cultures; choose another tree if you or your neighbors have 10% or more of this species. Since they are native to Eastern North America from Quebec to Minnesota and south to Florida and eastern Texas, they are ubiquitous throughout much of North America.
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