||trees|deciduous|height 40-60'|spread 40-50'|sun/part shade|fall color||
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
Three years ago, a now friend from the Texas A&M system brought me what he claimed was an alkaline tolerant form of the red maple. He gave me 30-50 of the 8" to 15" seed-grown individuals in March of 2007. I up-potted them into five gallon containers shortly thereafter. By the beginning of September that fall, none of them were under 4' high and a quarter of them were over 7'. The fall color was a dark red that morphed into a vibrant purple! Needless to say - they sold well.
I've grown several crops of these red maples and will have over 100 five gallons in the fall of 2010. I'll put some into 15 gallon containers soon. Several customers have returned to purchase more of these - no deaths have been reported. All the customers comment on their uncommonly fast growth and ornamental leaves.
The leaves in the spring emerge as a dark red with 'hoary' hairs protecting the expanding leaves. As the shoot elongates and the leaves expand, the color turns to purple. At full size, the leaves green out and turn purple in the fall. At sexual maturity the wind-pollinated flowers mature as the red leaves emerge. Flowers are bright yellow and the effect is most attractive - if only for a few days.
At maturity, the tree is 40' to 60' high with an arching crown 40' to 50' across. If you're irrigating a lawn in Austin, that should be enough water for the tree at maturity. I feel it would be wise to establish this tree with water through its first summer and supplemental water during the heat/drought as we experienced in the summers of '08 and '09.