Red Sunset Maple

Botanical Name: Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’ (RED SUNSET)

Alternate Name: Red Sunset Red Maple

The Red Sunset Maple is one of the best trees to plant in a landscape for early, eye-catching fall color.  This tree starts off growing in a pyramidal shape as a juvenile and eventually develops a beautifully rounded form as the tree matures. Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’ Maple is a deciduous maple tree that grows to a height of 40-50 feet with a spread of 30-40 feet, making it a perfect choice for medium and large sized landscapes. 

Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’ provides a variety of red colors throughout the spring, summer, and fall. This tree has small clusters of red flowers that cover the branches in early spring. These are followed by red winged samaras in the summer. 

The leaves grow in and fill the canopy in spring as the blooms are fading. The first flush of red leaves matures to an attractive, shiny mid green. They are 2-6 inches in size with 3-5 lobes. In early fall, as the first cold weather arrives, the leaves change to yellow, followed by burnt orange. They finish the season with a fantastic fall show of deep, vibrant red.

The Red Sunset Maple is tolerant of many different soil types. If it is well-drained, it prefers wet to dry soils. This tree thrives with an acidic pH. Incorporating rich compost into the planting site will help to achieve the preferred pH, as will planting near conifers.

Acer rubrum ‘Franksred’ is a very cold hardy variety. It is sensitive to salt, so not recommended for planting sites next to roads or driveways where there is snowfall.


Height: 40-50 ft.

Width: 30-40 ft. 

Shape: Pyramidal - developing into a rounded crown as tree matures

Flower Color: Red

Flowering Time: March-April

Fall Color: Yellow, Orange, Red

Features: Spectacular fall color

Exposure: Full Sun

Watering: Moderate/Heavy & Regular

Soil: Prefers acidic, consistently moist but well-drained soil. Can tolerate a wide range of soil types, including wet soil.

Growth Rate: Moderate

USDA Zones: 3-9

Uses: Specimen tree, street tree, shade tree, lawn tree, park tree, rain garden

Similar trees: Acer rubrum ‘Brandywine’