Another Perfect Plant: Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’ RED SUNSET

Red Maple 'Red Sunset', Acer rubrum, 'Franksred', 1999-104, 1 October 2012  DSC_3400.jpg

Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’ RED SUNSET

This cultivar of the red maple (Acer rubrum) certainly lives up to its common name – the fire engine red leaves put on a fabulous show in the fall. This highly adaptable tree can be used in a variety of situations from standing water to parking lot medians. Fall foliage color is dependent on species, temperature, sunlight, and soil moisture.

Leaves are green because they have chlorophyll in them. As chlorophyll production slows in the fall, the underlying yellow (xanthophyll) and orange (carotenoid) pigments are unmasked. The brilliant red colors maples turn in the fall are produced by anthocyanins, thought to act as a sort of “sunscreen” for leaves though their purpose is not fully understood. When the weather conditions come together the fall show can add an additional element of interest to the garden, especially in a time of year when many blooming perennials and shrubs are slowing down for winter.   

References:
USDA
University of Florida / U.S. Forest Service
Harvard Forest

 

Photo reference:
The Brenton Arboretum

 

Paul Cady

Paul is a landscape designer with a professional background in public horticulture. His years of experience maintaining both public and private gardens provide an informed perspective on choosing, arranging, and placing plants in the landscape. He is committed to creating landscapes that will survive and thrive over time through making informed plant choices and developing written landscape management plans.