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Red Maple tree in Miami? Is it possible.

November 20, 2010

Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum, I recently joined because I wanted some advice on this topic. My family and I moved from Chicago to Miami about 4 years ago, and if there is something my mother misses is the autumn colors, and nature back in Chicago, it was just phenomenal.

My question is, I know there are some sites that sell trees, and I was wondering how a Red Maple tree would do here in Miami, Florida. I understand that the Red Maple has a plant hardy zone of up to 9, and I live in zone 10. If planted the right way, and under the best conditions, in the right location, would this tree survive. It does get "cold" here in Miami, last year we had a week in which the temperatures dropped to the upper 30's. Thanks for any help and advice in advance.

Comments (8)

  • noki

    I don't know if there is a cultivar that will survive in Miami, some do better in the South than others.

    But... there is a good reason why you don't see the same Midwest red Autumn colors in Miami. Because it just doesn't happen like that because of climate, latitude, and which trees grow there.

    Maybe someone will chime in with a species of tree that might interest you in Miami.

  • Embothrium

    Los Angeles gets good autumn color out of landmark trees through the planting of Liquidambar styraciflua there.

  • jmo_0121

    Thanks guys, that's the problem here in Miami, very few selection of trees we could go with. My mother would like a tree that reminds her of Chicago, you know how mothers tend to be. I have done quite a bit of research, and not even the Florida Maple would thrive here, but since I have heard of people pushing the hardy zone boundaries, I thought that it would be possible, noting that the Red Maple is up to Zone 9, and I live in zone 10.

  • Embothrium

    In Florida you can be limited by extreme soil conditions as well as climate. However, I did find Acer rubrum listed by this thing.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Miami Tree Puzzle

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    Yes, you can grow Acer rubrum in Miami. It occurs naturally throughout most of the south and is present in the swamp prairies of the Florida everglades. In fact, this species has the largest natural range covering the widest span of climatic conditions of any US native tree species. It is also tolerant of a very large range of soil conditions, which could explain the expansiveness of its natural range. The other gardening website has numerous reports of this tree growing throughout Florida, including Miami.

    Fall color is another matter. The seasonal coloring of foliage is influenced by day length, temperatures and climate, with sunny days and cool, crisp nights generating the change in pigmentation. Soils and moisture also play a role but to a lesser extent. In areas where the climate is very mild with minimal change between daytime and nighttime temperatures, the sugars that trigger activation of anthocyanin (the pigment that results in red, orange or purple leaf coloring) just do not develop or develop in too low a concentration to result in much of a fall foliage show.

    FWIW, the hardiness zone designations are related only to winter cold hardiness -- they have nothing to do with heat tolerance in summer or lack of cold in winter. Not even sure why they bother to include an upper limit, except how it might impact winter dormancy, which could be a limiting factor (insufficiently cold weather in winter over an extended period may not allow the normal dormancy cycle, which can shorten the plant's lifespan). The AHS heat zone designator would be more appropriate for your consideration and the maple seems to be right on the cusp for your area.

  • Embothrium

    The Miami Tree Puzzle is supposed to be covering trees seen growing wild in Miami.

  • jmo_0121

    Wow Gardengal48, you just lifted my spirits, immense thanks to you. Just today I visited around 4 nurseries, and I just have to admit that there really isn't much to choose from here other than palms, ficus, live oaks etc. I did my research on this forum and someone mentioned that they saw a Red Maple somewhere in Miami Beach, that gives me even more hope. Aside from the fall coloring, there is much more to a Maple tree, so even if I get little or no color, I would still be up for it. So this leaves me with buying the tree on the internet as my only option, what sites (nurseries) do you guys recommend? Thanks

  • Soumil Yarlagadda

    i would really just say you buy a red maple online, since only place in western north florida sell red maple. greeting from soCAL

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