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TREES & plants

Freeman's maple

Auttum Blaze Freeman's maple in fall color.

This sturdy hybrid is very common in this region, often serving as a parkway or street tree. It has a brilliant, red-orange color in the fall. Freeman's maple is a hybrid of the red maple and silver maple; the cross yields both the strong branch attachment of the red maple and fast growth rate of the silver maple. Freeman's maple is also less susceptible to chlorosis symptoms than the red or silver maples. Freeman's maple offers a number of cultivars and these are more commonly planted than the species.

This species is a hybrid of two trees that are native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.  

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name: 
Acer freemanii
All Common Names: 
Freeman's maple, Freeman maple
Family (English): 
Soapberry (formerly Maple)
Family (Botanic): 
Sapindaceae (formerly Aceraceae)
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area, 
  • Illinois, 
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks, 
  • City parkway, 
  • Wide median
Landscape Uses: 
  • Parkway/street, 
  • Shade tree, 
  • Specimen, 
  • Windbreak
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
40-60 feet
Mature Width: 
20-40 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Commonly planted
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Fall color, 
  • Attractive bark
Season of Interest: 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Columnar, 
  • Oval, 
  • Pyramidal, 
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
Wildlife: 
  • Insect pollinators
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Avoid pruning maples in spring as they are 'bleeders' and will lose large amounts of sap

Disease, pests, and problems

Verticillium wilt (fungus) is a potential problem for maples; maple bladder gall.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

This hybrid has the strong branch attachment of the red maple and fast growth rate of the silver maple.
Less susceptible to chlorosis symptoms (yellowing leaves) than red or silver maples.

Native geographic location and habitat

Of hybrid origin, a cross between two native trees, red maple (Acer rubrum) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum)

Bark color and texture

Bark is fairly smooth and silver-gray, becoming fissured with age.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, texture, and color

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite); 3 to 5 inches long.
The 5-lobed leaves are deeply lobed, with toothed sinuses; often resemble those of silver maple.
Medium green with a silvery underside.
Fall color is red-orange to yellow, variable by cultivar.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers are inconspicuous.  Some trees will have both male and female flowers, some will have only male flowers.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit are winged seeds in pairs (samaras).
Some cultivars produce no fruit.

Cultivars and their differences

"These plants are cultivars of a hybrid of two trees that are 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." 

Armstrong Freeman's maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Armstrong’):  An upright, narrow form, growing 50 to 70 feet high and 15 to 20 feet wide.  Fall color is an orange-red, depending upon the season.

Autumn Blaze® Freeman's maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Jeffersred’):  A rounded to broad oval tree, growing 50 to 60 feet high and 40 to 50 feet wide.  Has a strong central leader and better branching habit than silver maple.  Fall color is a consistent orange-red.  Originally thought to be a male tree, but has produced fruit in some cases.

Autumn Fantasy® Freeman's maple  (Acer x freemanii 'DTR 102):  A broadly oval form growing about 50 feet high and 40 feet wide.  Produces bright red fall color.

Celebration® Freeman's maple (Acer x freemanii 'Celzam'):  A broadly oval form growing about 50 feet high and 35 feet wide.  Leaves are similar to silver maple, but this cultivar has a more uniform growth habit, making it more resistant to storm damage.  It is more tolerant of urban conditions.  Fall color is yellow to orange.

Firefall Freeman's maple (Acer x freemanii 'AF#1'):  An upright oval form growing 50 feet high and 35 feet wide.  The orange-red to red fall color develops a little earlier than other cultivars.

Marmo (Acer x freemanii ‘Marmo’):  This cultivar has a uniform, upright to columnar form.  It grows  45 to 70 feet high and 35 to 40 feet wide.  Has a strong central leader and excellent branching habit.  Fall color is an interesting mottled blend of red and green to burgundy, and yellow.  Produces no fruit.  The parent tree was selected from the collections at The Morton Arboretum. A Chicagoland Grows® introduction.

Sienna Glen® Freeman's maple (Acer x freemanii 'Sienna'):  This cultivar has a strong central leader and a uniform, pyramidal shape.  It grows 50 feet high and 35 feet wide.  Fall color is orange to red-burgundy.

Acer freemanii or Freeman's maple