Lets Grow

October Glory Maple Puts On A Show

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Published January 8th, 2010

Local residents and visitors to Adams County in autumn are well aware of the spectacular fall foliage display we have here in our county. While New England states like Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire are well known for showy fall color with their mix of sugar maple, red maple and birch, this region of Ohio can be equally colorful.

True Red Maples (Acer rubrum) are magnificent shade trees with green foliage that generally grow 50 feet tall and wide, although some get much larger. The species gets its name from its flower color, though most Red Maples have red seeds and red fall foliage as well. There are hundreds of cultivars, varying quite a bit in shape, growth habit, leaf color, hardiness and other traits. Our favorite is “October Glory”, because it gets spectacular red fall color and keeps its leaves for many weeks after they turn red.

Fall color is caused by chemical reactions within plant leaves. October Glory red maple uses red pigments (anthocyanins) to protect the leaves under certain conditions. Red maples can vary quite a bit from year to year in both timing and intensity, but we’ve found October Glory to be very consistent deep red from one autumn to the next.

A medium-sized, fairly slow-growing shade tree, October Glory is ideal for locations where larger shade trees would overhang buildings or interfere with walks and driveways. Larger than popular ornamental pears like Bradford and Aristocrat, October Glory makes a better shade tree because it can be “limbed up” high enough to walk or drive under. It is a hard maple, less likely to be damaged by wind or ice than ornamental pears and much longer lived. Soft maples like silver maple provide shade faster but can grow much too large and require expensive “trimming”, not a problem with red maples.

October Glory was introduced in 1961 by Princeton Nursery in New Jersey. It has become one of the most widely planted red maples. Tolerant of most soils, October Glory typically grows to 35 feet wide and 40 feet tall, a perfect size for lawn shade tree planting, with a nice rounded crown and dense, evenly spaced branching. It tolerates heat and drought very well. We have yet to find a better maple variety.

Scroll to Top