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Past Articles Library | Trees | Growing a Red Beauty-The Crimson King Maple


Crimson King Maple is the common name for the Crimson King Norway Maple.   Regardless of the name, it can easily be found in many types of environments that range from USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 3b through 7.   The flexibility of this plant expands to its growing requirements, which extend from full sun to partial shade and soil types.  While this plant does like a well-drained soil, it can tolerate some drought conditions. 

When considering to utilize this plant in the landscape, one will first need to consider the height and girth of the tree.  The Crimson King Maple’s mature size can be 35 to 45 feet in height with a girth of 25 to 40 feet.  Also, the fruit and root system can be an issue.  While the fruit is not very showy, the brown or green 1-3 inch delights are a delicacy to birds.  In doing so, the ground and surrounding area around Crimson King Maple’s can be covered with bird waste.  The roots of this plant are another problem for man and plant.  The shallow root system of the Crimson King Maple can lift concrete, compete for nutrients, and make mowing a challenge.  Also, the tree’s roots themselves can be the death of the tree, if the roots get wrapped around the trunk.  If this happens, remove the problem root immediately.

While this plant does have some problems, the beauty it produces makes up for them.  In the spring and summer, the Crimson King Maple produces star shaped leaves that are 4 to 8 inches in length.  They can be either purple and or red, which turn yellow in the fall.  Maroon-yellow flowers appear in the summer and are a prelude to the brown or green seedpods.

Planting a Crimson King Norway Maple

Once you have decided that you want this tree in your landscape, the next step is to choose the correct location.  To avoid any problems, make sure to not locate the tree, regardless of size, near sidewalks or driveways.  Also, avoid any area with a deck.

After you have chosen the correct location, begin the planting process by digging a hole that is the same depth as the root ball and two to two and half times the width.   Place the displaced soil into a wheelbarrow.  Test the hole before going on.

Once the hole is dug, mix into the removed soil a good portion of compost and mix well.  To the hole, take a rake and scrape the inside of the hole.  This will allow the roots to grow beyond the hole.

Next, remove the tree from its container.  If the container is plastic, simply cut down the sides of the container and lift the plant up.  If the tree is in burlap, cut away the burlap before going on.

After the tree has been removed from its container, gently loosen up the roots and place the tree in the hole.  Step back and observe the tree.  Is it straight and is the best side showing at the angle I want it to.  Once these questions have been answered, the next step is to begin the filling in process.  This is done by backfilling with the soil/organic matter that was saved and mixed from the hole.  Push down on the soil, as you add two to three inches at a time.  While doing this process, make sure to keep soil from building up on the trunk.  Once that is done, create a berm around the dripline.    After that is done, water inside the ridge a little at a time until the tree receives 15 gallons of water.  Never allow the water to run over the berm.

Once the tree has been watered, the next step is to provide support.  These supports will only need to remain for 6 to 12 months or until the roots have time to secure themselves.  To create this support, begin by forcing two to three stakes outside the root zone.  After that is done, loosely tie soft twine to the tree and then to the stake.   When doing this step, make sure that the ties are not too tight.  If they are to snug, you are running a chance of girdling your tree.


Next, add a 4 inch layer of mulch around the tree but make sure to keep the mulch 2 to 3 inches away from the trunk.

Propagating Crimson King Norway Maple

There are two approaches when it comes to propagating this tree.  The first one deals with planting directly outdoors while the other consists of plants indoors.  Regardless of which one you choose, the key to this technique is the cold period.

To plant your Crimson King Norway Maple seeds, begins with the collection process.  If you are not going to plant your seeds immediately, store your seeds in a paper bag.  This simple step will keep your seeds from rotting.

If you are going to plant your seeds outside after harvesting, you must begin in the fall.  To start this process, one will need to prepare the seedbed by removing any stones, and grass.  Once that is done, smooth the surface out.

Next, separate the seeds, which are located on a two helicopter shaped shell.  There is no need to remove the wings of the shell.  Once the seeds have been separated, the next step is to plant the seeds.  Crimson King Norway Maple seeds need to be planted the depth as the diameter of the seed.  In this case, the depth needs to be about an inch.  After the seed has been planted, gently push soil on top and pat down gently.  Once all the seeds have been planted, cover with shredded leaves and/or straw and water in.  Continue to water throughout fall.  Once spring arrives, continue with the watering process until seedlings germinate.  After germination has occurred and the tree has several leaves, transplant them to their permanent location as desired previously.

If, on the other hand, you want to start you seeds indoors, the process begins with the seed collection.  Once the seeds have been collected and processed as described above, the next step is to prepare ones container.  This is done by dipping the pot into warm water that has a drop of dish soap along with a capful of bleach.  Scrub the pot to remove old soil, and debris.  Rinse with clear water and place outside in the sun.  Once dry, place drainage material in the bottom and fill with soil mixture that consists of two parts seed starting soil, one part peat moss and one part sand.

Water the soil in until moisture can be seen coming out of the drainage hole.  Once that occurs, lay the seeds on the soil surface and cover with one inch of soil.  Next, cover with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band.  Place the covered pot in the refrigerator for 90 to 140 days but do not forget about your seeds.  The soil in the pot will need to be checked throughout this period.  If the soil becomes dry, mist with water and replace with the plastic wrap.

Once the time period has passed, remove the pot from the refrigerator and place on a windowsill that receives indirect light.  Continue to monitor the soil moisture.  Once seedlings begin to appear, remove the plastic wrap and place back on the windowsill.  Monitor the soil moisture and only water when the first inch of soil is dry.  Once that occurs, water until moisture can be seen coming out of the drainage hole.

After weather warms, plant outside as described above.



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Gardening-tip:



Purple Knight Alternanthera

This ground cover likes partial sun to full sun.

It grows 16 to 20 inches (40-50 cm) tall, and 2 to 3 feet (60-90 cm) wide. It is very heat tolerant.

Its beautiful purple leaves make an excellent accent plant in the garden.


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