The Trees of Cornell

Red Maple

Red Maple_BHL download_North American Sylva 1819-Illustration.png
Acer rubrum from Histoire Des Arbres Forestiers De l'Amérique Septentrionale (1810)

Acer rubrum

The blush of early red maple leaves heralds spring across the deciduous forests of eastern North America, from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Ontario to southern Texas, eastern Oklahoma and Florida.

As the spring season deepens toward summer, the red-tinged leaves turn green, then take on often spectacularly deep red and yellow hues in autumn.

Growing up to 60’ in height, the red maple can grow in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loamy, well-drained and clay soils. It most prefers somewhat wet soil conditions and lots of sun with a minimum of 6 hours a day.

Red maples do produce some sap, but not as abundantly as the sugar maple. Still, as a star performer in the fall foliage display in the Northeast, the red maple has earned itself some top billing: It’s the red maple leaf you see on the Canadian flag, and for Rhode Island, it’s the state tree.

Sources: arborday.org, gardenguides.com, fs.ed.us

Go to the Coloring Sheet

Map of Red Maples on the Cornell Campus

One Red Maple's Benefits

Every tree provides both function and value, from shade and wildlife habitats to CO2 sequestration and stormwater retention. To help us appreciate some of the benefits of the trees around us, iTree Design has developed a tool to calculate the main financial benefits of a given tree in a specific location over time.

Please note that these monetary values will vary greatly based on where the tree stands; energy usage for indoor spaces will not be reduced by a tree placed far from a building, for example. These numbers refer to this specific Red Maple which stands here on the Ag Quad of Cornell's Ithaca campus.

Total Projected Benefits (2020-2045)

Over the next 25 years, based on forecasted tree growth, i-Tree Design projects total benefits worth $858.

$199 of savings by reducing 8,549 lbs. of atmospheric carbon dioxide through CO 2 sequestration and decreased energy production needs and emissions

$46 of storm runoff savings by avoiding 5,142 gallons of stormwater runoff (intercepting 53,280 gallons of rainfall)

$5 of air quality improvement savings by absorbing and intercepting pollutants such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter; reducing energy production needs; and lowering air temperature

$44 of summer energy savings by direct shading and air cooling effect through evapotranspiration

$564 of winter energy savings by slowing down winds and reducing home heat loss

Color Our Collections

(1) Click on image (2) Request full page image via the full page toggle button (3) Right click and save image to download (4) Open download and print.

Red Maples on the Cornell Campus