I just bought a lovely red maple to grow in my yard. The tag on the plant says that this tree could grow to be 50 feet tall and 50 feet wide. Right now it is only 2 feet tall and looks like a skinny stick. How long will it take to reach its full size?

The time it takes for a tree to reach maturity depends on many factors, not the least of which is genetics. Some trees are slow growers (20-30 years to reach full size) and some are fast (10-15 years). Red maple (Acer rubrum) is a moderately fast grower; given good growing conditions, it should put on 1-2 feet of growth per year once established.

The better the growing conditions you've given it, the happier it will be and the faster it will grow. First choose a planting location with full sun and good drainage. Then help the tree get established with deep and consistent watering for the first 3 years. As it gets older, annual mulching and supplemental watering in drought times will boost its growth rate as well.



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