Do you admire the rich burgundy color in contrast to the lush greenery that prolongs all summer? Then know that you are helplessly in love with the King Crimson maple tree, which is one of the best ornamental and shade trees of all times.
A New Home
John Bartram was the first to sell the King Crimson maple on American soil. It was introduced in America in 1756.
The best feature of the King Crimson maple is certainly its rich color of the foliage. But the other point of interest for the tree lovers is the wonderful display it sets right through the warm months. This is typical of the King Crimson to grow in stark hot weather, unlike the other maple varieties that take a little longer, and show up only at fall. Well, that explains why it is known to be the ‘king’ among the maples! It doesn’t do well in arid conditions, and rather prefers moist and temperate growing conditions.
As mentioned above, there are many variations of the tree, and many are native to Asia. However, the subject of this article, the King Crimson, has taken a long journey across many places on the globe, but has its place of origin in Europe and Asia. This tree, among many other foreign entrants in America, is considered to be one of the most invasive of trees. One of the most widely used landscape trees, this maple tree has loads of facts. Read on to explore!
✦ Scientific nomenclature: Acer platanoides
✦ Commonly known as: King Crimson or Norway maple
✦ USDA Zone: 3-7
✦ Shape of the crown: Round and oval in shape.
✦ Color and Shape of the leaves: This, in fact, makes all the difference. This is like the identity of the tree and sets it apart from other trees. You can find the leaves take the color purple to almost maroon, in most cases, during summer and autumn. As winter approaches, the leaves turn brown and bronze.
✦ Height, and Size: 35 – 45 ft tall, 25 – 30 ft wide
✦ Blooms: Pale yellow
✦ Bark: Gray/Brown
✦ Growth rate: Moderate
Soil should be well-drained. It can vary from sandy, loamy, to even clayey soil. The type of soil can be alkaline or even acidic in nature.
The tree requires good exposure to sunlight. It can do well even in partial sunlight.
The plant requires good amount of water to deliver the shiny leaves. But heavy watering is not required. It just needs medium water supply regularly.
The tree requires moderate temperatures, and can adapt to warm temperatures. It will not be able to survive in extreme hot conditions, and can tolerate winter temperatures, though it is affected by frost and ice.
Pruning this tree is relatively simple. The ideal time to prune it is during its dormancy by cutting the unhealthy branches or by simply shortening the length of some of them. It is also good to prune the unnecessary growths during summers.
During the summer months, the dry soil around the tree can take away its sheen and make the leaves dry and brittle. The tree will also lose the color, which is its most eye-appealing quotient.
This phenomenon is one of the most widespread problems featured in Norway maples. It is caused easily by strong winds and ice. Frost cracks also harm the tree during fall.
Aphids and Beetles
Aphids are responsible for the premature fall of the purple leaves. Beetles are found to gradually eat away the trunk of the tree, if not controlled.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
✦ The location is prime, because as this tree grows, its foliage will spread, and the area that it needs to grow will accelerate. Therefore, the hind thought should be to know how much area you can provide your maple for it to grow.
✦ The place should have abundant sunlight, and the drainage should be just perfect to strike a balance between the amount of light it receives and the water intake.
✦ These trees are best known to propagate from cuttings.
✦ While planting the tree, make sufficient cover against direct sunlight, and try to retain the moisture by covering it in whole. Sheets of plastic are helpful for this purpose.
✦ If conditions of its growth are met with care, the tree can survive for even a century as well.
✦ Pollution due to urbanization is never a hindrance for its survival.
✦ As it provides a cool shade, the tree is used as shade trees along roadsides.
✦ Fungus thrives best in dry and moist conditions. Take care of the tree by pruning it, thus allowing proper light and air.
✦ In case you are having lawn grasses in the area where you have planted the King Crimson, make sure to choose a type of the lawn grass that will grow well in shade with less water supply. This is so because the tree will pose fierce competition against the grass, and will eventually outpace the grass in water intake, leaving them dry and thirsty.
DISEASES AFFECTING THE KING CRIMSON
The most affected parts of the tree are the trunk and its bark. The effect is very visible, and one can spot it immediately. One seemingly common disease is called crankers. It affects the bark of the tree, and is caused by a fungus. You can identify them as pink, black, and red spots on the bark. Overdose of mulch will also result in disintegrating bark of the tree.
Many are ardent believers of the fact that since King Crimson maple is not native to America, it is rather invasive, and poses a threat to the healthy growth of other plants. But, it has been also seen that the tree can be grown most desirably if pruned accurately, and if the requirement of its growth and maturity are attested. There are many organizations and institutes that have enlisted the tree as ‘bad trees to plant’ in the yard. But tree lovers shouldn’t worry about these listing norms, and should do their bit in planting King Crimson, as the problems associated with it are menial compared to the breathtaking beauty it flaunts.