Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FAQ: My red maple leaves are yellow. Was I sold the wrong tree?

Q. I bought a red maple at a local garden center last spring. The leaves are turning yellow in autumn. Was I sold the wrong kind of tree? What kind of maple do you think I purchased?

A. Though it's possible for plants to be mislabeled, you probably purchased a red maple (Acer rubrum). The leaf color in trees grown from seed can vary from yellow to red, including splotches.

Despite what you might have read, red maples aren't called so because of the leaf color in fall, but because the flowers and seed structures are red. If you want to be sure of having red foliage in fall, purchase a cultivar like 'October Glory' that will produce it, or buy a seed-grown tree in fall while the red leaves are on it.

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