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What is an October Glory Maple?

By Henry Gaudet
Updated May 16, 2024
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The October glory maple is a cultivar of the red maple tree and is characterized by rapid growth, a round canopy and brilliant autumn colors. These trees are widely used in landscaping, lining streets and driveways as well as dotting parks and yards. During spring and summer, the October glory maple tree’s dense foliage provides shade. Its crown is naturally round or oval, giving the tree a manicured, symmetrical appearance without pruning.

October glory maple saplings grow quickly, typically gaining several feet (about 1 m) each year until reaching maturity. A fully grown October glory maple can reach a height of 25–50 feet (about 7–15 meters). Initially, the tree’s crown will be conical, but as it grows and fills in, the canopy takes on an evenly rounded or oval shape. In maturity, the canopy can spread up to 35 feet (about 10 m) wide.

Like other red maples, the October glory maple is a hardy tree that requires little more than sunlight and regular watering. It grows well in most soils, but it prefers moist soil with good drainage. The red maple is native to cooler regions of North America, and the tree does not do well in hot or arid climates.

A hardy tree, the October glory maple stands up well to environmental threats such as disease. Most diseases affecting the maple are nuisance level, with only a small risk of lethal disease. October glory maples can resist higher levels of pollution found in urban and suburban environments, making them a popular feature of landscaping. They often can be found lining avenues and decorating parking lots.

One limitation, however, is their relatively thin bark, easily cut by common lawncare equipment. In springtime, a cut can cause the tree to bleed sap, causing severe damage and potentially killing the tree. Roots that break the surface might make mowing around the tree difficult as well.

Red maples have aggressive roots, and though they are not as invasive as the silver maple, they still can cause damage. Apart from the deep anchoring roots, most of the October glory’s roots grow less than 1 foot (30 cm) underground. Roads, sidewalks, underground utility lines and other nearby ground-level or underground structures might be damaged over time by the tree’s spreading roots. Competition with other nearby plants is more common with other varieties of maple, but this also might be an issue, and gardeners might need to give other plants additional attention.

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