Maple Comparisons

Published On: August 11th, 2022

maple comparison in wisconsin

The Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) is our official Wisconsin state tree. With its stately habit, durable wood, and blazing autumn color, it is a fitting choice in many landscapes. It’s an exceptional landscape tree, but there are other maples to consider!

Sugar Maple

maple comparison sugar maple trees in a park with fall color

Acer saccharum

  • Mature Size: 50’-60’ tall / 40’-50’ spread
  • Form: Dense, rounded top
  • Growth Rate: Slow (12” or less per year)


  • Extremely hard wood makes this tree very strong and resistant to breakage
  • As a Wisconsin native, it is ideally suited to growing in our climate and soils
  • Exceptional fall color, primarily in shades of yellow and orange
  • In addition to the native species, we also offer Fall Fiesta® Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum ‘Bailsta’ PP11,119). Fall Fiesta® exhibits a faster growth rate and a more uniform orange/red fall color.

Autumn Blaze® Freeman Maple

autumn blaze maple comparison in wisconsin

Acer x freemanii ‘Jeffersred’ PP4,864

  • Mature Size: 40’-60’ tall / 30’-40’ spread
  • Form: Upright, oval top
  • Growth Rate: Fast (36” or more per year)


  • A hybrid of two Wisconsin native trees, Red Maple and Silver Maple, exhibiting the best characteristics of each parent. It inherits good form and red fall color from the Red Maple while getting the fast growth rate and tolerance to alkaline clay soils from the Silver Maple
  • Outstanding brilliant red fall color

Northern Glow® Maple

northern glow maple comparison in wisconsin

Acer pseudosieboldianum x palmatum ‘Hasselkus’

  • Mature Size: 20’ tall / 20’-25’ spread
  • Form: Upright when young, gracefully spreading with maturity
  • Growth Rate: Slow (12” or less per year)


  • This hybrid combines the graceful form of the Japanese Maple with the cold hardiness of the Korean Maple. Developed in Madison, Wisconsin. Leaves emerge bronze, turn green in summer, and transition from bright orange to deep red in the fall.

Northern Glow® is an introduction from J. Frank Schmidt.

Maples We Don’t Sell, and Why…

acer platanoides crimson king maple comparison in wisconsin

Crimson King Norway Maple

Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’

This burgundy-leaf form of Norway maple was hugely popular as a shade tree in previous decades but has fallen out of favor in recent years. It has shown itself to have invasive tendencies and the Wisconsin DNR strongly discourages the continued planting of this tree.

Japanese Maples

While these plants are spectacularly beautiful and impart a sense of tranquility they are, regrettably, not entirely hardy in our climatic zone. We recommend the hardier Korean Maple (Acer pseudosieboldiana) or the hybrid Northern Glow® as an alternative to Japanese options in our area. If, however, you have your heart set on them, the following varieties are best suited to southeastern Wisconsin:

  • Bloodgood (Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’)
  • Crimson Queen (Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’)
  • Emperor 1 (Acer palmatum ‘Wolff’)