These 15 Maple Trees Will Set Your Yard Ablaze with Vibrant Color

maple tree close up leaves
Photo: Bob Stefko

No matter what size yard you have, there's a colorful type of maple tree to fit your needs.

Examples of maple trees to add to your yard

Alison Czinkota / BHG

01 of 15

Japanese Maple

japanese maple in front of gazebo
Bob Stefko

The elegant form and foliage of Japanese maples has been treasured throughout the centuries. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from with beautifully serrated green or red foliage. In general, Japanese maples remain compact and can fit into tight spaces. You also can grow them as a bonsai.

Botanical Name: Acer palmatum

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Zones: 5–8

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02 of 15

Coral Bark Maple

Coral Bark maple
Mike Jensen

Year-round color! That's what you get with coral bark maple. This type of maple tree has reddish pink bark and pale green leaves that turn bright yellow in the fall. In the winter, the color of the tree's bark brightens so it stands out in a snowy landscape.

Botanical Name: Acer palmatum 'Sangokaku'

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Size: 15–20 feet tall, 12 feet wide

Zones: 5–8

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03 of 15

Paperbark Maple

Paperbark maple
Jane Milliman

Perfect for small yards, this gorgeous, slow-growing maple tree develops lovely, peeling, red-brown bark. This maple variety produces bright green foliage, which turns reddish-yellow in fall.

Botanical Name: Acer griseum

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 20–30 feet tall, 12 feet wide

Zones: 5–7

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04 of 15

Sugar Maple

red sugar maple
Denny Schrock

When it comes to fall color, sugar maples are at the top of the list. These native maples are absolutely spectacular in autumn when their foliage turns vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. They make excellent shade trees for large backyards. There are a number of variety options to choose from, but 'Green Mountain' is one of the most popular because it is drought resistant.

Botanical Name: Acer saccharum

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 50–75 feet tall, 30–45 feet wide

Zones: 4–8

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05 of 15

Silver Maple

Silver maple in orange light
Bob Stefko

Silver maple is a graceful, fast-growing type of maple tree that does best planted in moist locations away from buildings because they tend to drop branches easily. They have aggressive root systems that can infiltrate sewer systems so it's best planted away from underground pipes. Hybrids such as 'Silver Queen' or 'Silver Cloud' are less messy and aggressive.

Botanical Name: Acer saccharinum

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 60–80 feet tall, 40–60 feet wide

Zones: 3–9

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06 of 15

Red Maple

lush Red maple tree
Denny Schrock

A North American native, red maple forms an oval crown of bright green leaves that turn fiery red in autumn. Growing at a moderate rate, red maple makes a sturdy, beautiful shade tree. Look for top varieties such as 'Red Sunset', 'October Glory', 'Red Supersonic', 'Ruby Frost', and 'Columnar'.

Botanical Name: Acer rubrum

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Size: 40–60 feet tall, 30–40 feet wide

Zones: 3–9

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07 of 15

Hedge Maple

Hedge maple
Denny Schrock

The rounded form of hedge maple is easily sheared to any height to create a privacy screen or living wall. In the fall, this maple tree develops pretty, pale yellow leaves. 'Metro Gold' and 'Royal Ruby' are two reliable varieties with bold fall color.

Botanical Name: Acer campestre

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Size: 20–35 feet tall, 20–30 feet wide

Zones: 5–8

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08 of 15

Crimson King Maple

Crimson King maple
Peter Krumhardt

This popular purple-leaf maple tree is actually a form of the common Norway maple. In fall, the foliage of 'Crimson King' maple turns a deep maroon. Like other Norway maples, it can be invasive in some regions.

Botanical Name: Acer platanoides 'Crimson King'

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 35–45 feet tall, 25–30 feet wide

Zones: 3–7

Buy It: 'Crimson King' Maple Tree ($35, The Home Depot)

09 of 15

Snakebark Maple

Snakebark maple
Denny Schrock

Named for its unique, striped bark, snakebark maple is a relatively compact type of maple tree, making it a good choice for small backyards. Plant these small trees where you can admire its spectacular bark, which becomes more colorful with age.

Botanical Name: Acer pectinatum ssp. forrestii

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade

Size: 15–20 feet tall, 15 feet wide

Zones: 5–9

Buy It:

10 of 15

Korean Maple

Korean maple
Denny Schrock

If you love Japanese maple varieties but live in a region where they won't survive the winter, try Korean maple. These rugged, small trees can tolerate cold temperatures. The trees have deeply lobed, dark green leaves that turn crimson in autumn. This type of maple tree loves full sun and partial shade.

Botanical Name: Acer pseudosieboldiana

Growing Conditions: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Size: 15–25 feet tall, 15 feet wide

Zones: 4–8

Grow it because: In the spring, Korean maples develop small purple flowers that add to the color show. They also grow well in containers. Korean maple does not like hot, dry conditions.

11 of 15

Trident Maple

Trident maple
Denny Schrock

Resistant to air pollution, trident maple is a good choice for street-side plantings. In the fall, this variety of maple tree's bright green lobed foliage changes to deep scarlet and orange. Trident maple grows slowly, so it rarely needs pruning. Plant this red maple tree in full sun or partial shade.

Botanical Name: Acer buergerianum

Growing Conditions: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Size: 20–30 feet tall, 20–30 feet wide

Zones: 5–9

Grow it because: Trident maple makes an excellent low-maintenance shade tree, especially for smaller yards. It's also relatively drought and disease resistant. Look for varieties 'Naruto' or 'Ningpoense'.

12 of 15

Three-Flowered Maple

Three-flowered maple
Denny Schrock

Also called roughbark maple, this versatile, small maple tree grows well in sun or shade and develops interesting ridges or knobs on the trunk as it matures. It is one of the few varieties of maple trees that develop fall color even if grown in the shade. You can plant this type of maple in any soil condition—it's very low maintenance.

Botanical Name: Acer triflorum

Growing Conditions: Full Sun, Shade

Size: 20 feet tall, 20 feet wide

Zones: 5–9

Grow it because: Three-flowered maple looks great in four seasons, has few pest or disease problems, and is drought resistant.

13 of 15

Morton Miyabe Maple

Morton Miyabe maple
Denny Schrock

First selected at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, the award-winning Morton miyabe maple has proved itself as a durable, easy-care maple tree with amazing fall color. This type of maple tree's dense branches make it a terrific shade tree, but it prefers to grow in full sun.

Botanical Name: Acer miyabei

Growing Conditions: Full Sun

Size: 40–50 feet tall, 30–35 feet wide

Zones: 4–6

Grow it because: This adaptable and hardy maple is tolerant to heat, cold, soil type, and urban pollution. It is not invasive and would be a good substitute for ash trees where ash borer problems exist. Two excellent selections are 'State Street' and 'Rugged Ridge' varieties.

14 of 15

Tatarian Maple

Tartarian maple
Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries.

A relative of Amur maple, tatarian maple is a tough, attractive maple tree that tolerates cold winters and hot summers. Look for varieties of maple trees that develop spectacular scarlet seedpods, such as 'Hot Wings'. These types of seedlings grow fabulously in the summer preferring full-sun to partial-shade conditions.

Botanical Name: Acer tataricum

Growing Conditions: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Size: 15–20 feet tall, 15 to 20 feet wide

Zones: 3–8

Grow it because: Small yellow flowers in the spring, bright red seedpods in the summer, and yellow and orange fall foliage make tatarian maple 'Hot Wings' a showstopping landscape plant. Variety 'Rugged Charm' is also an excellent option for small yards, because it stays compact.

15 of 15

Black Maple

Black maple
Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries.

Although closely related to sugar maple, black maples are more heat and drought resistant. Otherwise, these close cousins are similar except for leaf shape. Black maple leaves have three lobes while sugar maples have the traditional five lobes.

Botanical Name: Acer saccharum nigrum

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Size: 50–75 feet tall, 50 feet wide

Zones: 4–8

Grow it because: Black maples form a large, rounded crown which makes it an exceptional shade tree. In the fall, their leaves turn brilliant shades of yellow and red.

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