Sensation Box Elder
Botanical Name: Acer negundo ‘Sensation’
Alternate Name: Manitoba Maple
The Sensation Box Elder (Acer negundo ‘Sensation’) is said to have been discovered by a nurseryman, Warren Carnefix, in Idaho around 40 years ago, when he glimpsed it in an abandoned lot whilst driving by.
The Sensation Box Elder is a hardy, tough tree that has year round interest. The species Box Elder is native to much of the US and Canada. Its fall color is an unimpressive yellow. However, the ‘Sensation’ Box Elder variety puts on a showy autumn display of bright red and orange leaves.
In the spring, this tree also has beautiful color with the new leaves emerging in a bronze-orange glow. The leaves then mature to an attractive mid-green color but keep highlights of red until the fall display occurs.
The leaves are pinnately compound, with 3-5 leaflets that are sharply-toothed. The flowers are inconspicuous and don’t contribute to the charm of the tree.
This tree has a more regular and compact shape than its parent Acer negundo. It is a male clone so does not produce fruit clusters. This is useful to prevent attracting the box elder bug, which will feed on the flowers of the female tree species.
Prune in late winter/early spring to promote air circulation in the canopy. Easy to care for. Plant with Japanese Maples to achieve a variety of leaf textures and fall color.
Height: 20-30 ft.
Width: 25 ft.
Shape: Oval when young, maturing to Round
Flower Color: Yellowish-Green
Flowering Time: March-April
Fall Color: Red
Features: Copper new growth in spring, bright Red fall color
Exposure: Full Sun
Watering: Moderate & Regular, moderately drought tolerant once established
Soil: Adaptable to wet or dry conditions
Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast
USDA Zones: 4-6
Uses: Lawn tree, shade tree, perimeter tree, lining driveways