Crimson King Maple

Crimson King Maple
by M. Carlton


whose leaves are dark, glistening crimson throughout

the spring and summer is horticultural news that

opens all manner of opportunities for new landscaping

effects. The form known as Schwedler maple has

made an effort toward this rewarding goal, but

its red changes to green with the arrival of summer.

Finally, along comes the postwar variety Crimson

King, which really fills the bill. As a result

it is making headlines such as no other new tree

has achieved in years.

Crimson King, whose full official

name is Acer platanoides Schwedleri nigra,

is a true Norway in form, hardiness and ease

of culture, All it needs to develop its full beauty

is reasonably good soil and drainage, sunlight,

and ample space to grow tall and broad. The shade

it casts during the warm months is deep and refreshing,

while proper shaping during its nursery years

practically guarantees that no branch will be

low enough to get in anyone’s way. As for possible

trouble with plant insect pests or diseases-well,

there is no more reason to anticipate it than

with any other form of Norway.So much for practical

considerations. Now let’s look at some of the

ways of utilizing Crimson King’s unusual display

assets to best advantage.

Dogmatic, take-it-or-else rules

for home-grounds landscaping can be tricky business,

for the simple reason that there are always some

properties which nullify them by unalterable peculiarities

of size, topography, surroundings or perhaps the

location or architectural style of the house itself.

As a general principle, however, it is well to

remember that any sizable tree of exceptionally

striking color can easily be given too great prominence,

with the result that it ruins the harmony of the

rest of the landscaping and actually dominates

the whole place. A rather frequent example of

such an occurrence is that single big blue spruce

growing in the middle of a small front lawn and

fairly shouting at every passerby.

Summer foliage

So, on the majority of home properties, Crimson

King finds its most appropriate location in the

neighborhood of one of the side boundary lines

or perhaps toward the rear where it can be only

partially seen from the street. Often it can be

used with excellent effect to fill in a boundary

corner, either alone or with an underplanting

of evergreen shrubs such as white rhododendrons,

Mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia) or drooping

leucothoe (Leucothoe Catesbaei). Sometimes,

too, it can be placed with complete success close

to one end of a rear terrace over which it will

cast a welcome shade on hot summer afternoons.

In all cases it is well to consider the flower

colors of other nearby plantings with a view to

avoiding possible clashes of hues between the

maple’s leaves ‘and their near neighbors.

On large or markedly irregular

properties Crimson King can frequently serve as

a splendid accent against a background of other

good-sized trees, either deciduous or evergreen.

Do not plant it among them unless they

are very widely spaced, for that could easily

lead to eventual crowding of a star performer

that certainly deserves all the growing room it

wants. The ideal spot is likely to be far enough

in front of the existing trees to create a rather

prominent bulge in their general line. Or perhaps

there is a deep, open bay among them at the rear

of which your maple can be placed with splendid


The old advice to buy your trees

from a reliable well-established nursery is particularly

pertinent to this comparative newcomer with the

dark red leaves. Among other advantages, such

procedure will insure your getting a genuine Crimson

King and one that has been properly grown and

pruned to develop a symmetrical specimen form.

Also such nurseries, if not too far distant, are

equipped to do a proper “balled-and-burlapped”

transplanting job for you-always an important



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