TREES & plants

CRESCENDO™ sugar maple

Orange-red fall color on Crescendo sugar maple.

The CRESCENDO™ sugar maple was introduced by The Morton Arboretum through Chicagoland® Grows. Its dark green leaves turn an orange-red in the fall. Once established, this tree is tolerant of heat and drought. 

This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.

Botanical name: 
Acer saccharum 'Morton'
All Common Names: 
CRESCENDO™ sugar maple
Family (English): 
Soapberry (formerly Maple)
Family (Botanic): 
Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area, 
  • Illinois, 
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Shade tree, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
40-45 feet
Mature Width: 
30-35 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily), 
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Intolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Commonly planted, 
  • Intolerant of pollution
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Fall color
Season of Interest: 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
  • Game birds, 
  • Insect pollinators, 
  • Small mammals, 
  • Songbirds
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Best grown in evenly moist soil.  Full sun.  Soil should be acidic to slightly alkaline.  Tolerant of heat and drought.
Maples are considered 'bleeders' and are best pruned in early winter or during summer.

Disease, pests, and problems

Verticillium wilt (fungus) is a potential problem for maples; no other serious problems for this cultivar.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

This is a cultivated variety of a native species.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is dark gray on older trees; ridged and furrowed or sometimes platy.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Leaves in pairs (opposite); 3 to 6 inches long with 3 to 5 lobes.  Dark green leaves in summer change to orange-red in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers are small and inconspicuous.  Not ornamentally important.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras), about 1 inch long.



Acer saccharum 'Morton' or CRESCENDO™ sugar maple