Maple trees are known for their fall colors, and the Amur maple with its yellow, red, or orange leaves in the fall certainly lives up to this reputation. The tree is also valued for its compact size, cold hardiness, adaptability to a wide range of soils, and its versatility to be grown as a tree or shrub, screen or hedge, and even in containers. The tree was originally imported from Asia in the 19th century as an ornamental landscape plant. This small deciduous tree can be multi-stemmed or a single trunk that tops out at about 15-20 feet high. The simple, glossy 3-lobed leaves are dark green throughout the growing season. However, Amur maple is considered an invasive species in many areas. despite Amur maple cultivars (popular ones include 'Embers' and 'Flame") still being sold by nurseries.
In terms of invasiveness, Amur maple is different from trees that are unambiguously invasive and should be removed right away, such as tree of heaven. While it is no longer recommended to plant Amur maple due to its potential invasiveness. if you have the tree growing in your yard, the need for removing it depends on whether it poses a risk to the surrounding environment. It is generally a short lived tree that rarely lives to maturity, as it is susceptible to rot and storm damage.
|Common Name||Amur maple, Siberian maple|
|Botanical Name||Acer ginnala, Acer tataricum subsp. ginnala|
|Plant Type||Tree, shrub|
|Mature Size||15-18 ft. tall, 15-18 ft. wide|
|Soil Type||Loamy, sandy, clay, well-drained|
|Hardiness Zones||3-8 (USDA)|
Invasiveness of Amur Maple
Amur maple is considered an invasive species in the Northeast and Midwest of the United States where it has invaded natural areas. A single tree produces up to 5,000 seeds annually which spread mostly nearby but can also be carried farther away by wind and water. Check before planting whether there are any restrictions to plant Amur maple in your state.
While Amur maple prefers sunny locations, it is more tolerant of shade than other maples and wherever its thousands of winged seeds land, they can germinate in the shade. It produces seedlings that grow to maturity just about anywhere—in gaps in the canopy of a forest, in open woodlands, forest edges, prairies, and open fields. Because the tree grows as wide as it grows tall, its canopy shades out other vegetation and pushes out native shrubs and understory trees, thereby depriving native wildlife of food sources. Over time, Amur maple forms monocultures with dense shade underneath which no other plants can grow.
What Does Amur Maple Look Like
Amur maple can be either a small tree or a multi-stemmed shrub whose canopy is typically as wide as the tree is tall. The tree tends to leaf out early in the spring. The leaves are opposite with toothed edges. They have three lobes, and a typical feature of Amur maple is that the middle lobe is much longer than the side lobes. During the summer, the leaves are dark green. In the fall they turn yellow, red, or orange depending on the cultivar.
In mid spring, creamy white long flower panicles appear on the tree. Unlike those of most other maples, Amur maple flowers are fragrant. Over the summer, they develop into the winged samaras that are typical for maples. Amur maple samaras are small, about ¾ to 1 inch long, pink or reddish in the summer and turning brown when ripening.
How to Get Rid of Amur Maple
If your Amur maple is within 300 feet of a habitat that the tree could invade, find out whether it has already spread beyond control in other back yards, open lands, along rights of way, etc. If that is the case and Amur maple is already a problem where you live, it would be best removing the tree and applying a wide-spectrum herbicide such as glyphosate on the cut stump to prevent it from growing back.
If Amur maple is not (yet) problematic in your area, keep monitoring your yard for any seedlings that emerge and hand-pull them with all their roots. This is best done after a rain when the soil is wet. If the sapling is too big already and you cannot remove it by hand, dig it out to remove all of the roots, or use the cut stump herbicide treatment method.
If you are dealing with numerous small seedlings around a mature tree, you can also mow them but you need to repeat this often.
In any event, even if Amur maple is not considered invasive in your area, keep an eye out for any seedlings and remove them promptly.
Does Amur maple have invasive roots?
Amur maple is considered an invasive not so much because of its roots but because of the way its numerous seeds (in the form of winged samaras) are spreading into natural habitats and taking a foothold there, choking out native species.
What are native alternatives to Amur maple?
Where is Amur maple native to and when was it introduced to the United States?
The tree is native to China, Manchuria, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan.
It was introduced to North America in the 1860s.
Amur Maple. Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Recognizing and Treating Iron Deficiency in the Home Yard. The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension.