Yard & Garden Report


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First Impressions

Tatarian maple is easy to grow, and its seed pods are radiant!

Tatarian maple samaras
The seed pods of tatarian maple are brilliant.

The first colors of autumn are beginning to show—and they are brilliant! The seed pods of Tatarian maple are blazing.

Selecting trees for fall color is a challenge for us in North Dakota. The finest trees in autumn, including most maples, struggle here. Our soils are too dry and alkaline.

Tatarian maple (Acer tataricum) is an exception. It tolerates even our harsh soils and is hardy throughout the state.

Its seed pods (samaras) appear as fiery red wings. These wings contrast beautifully against the deep green foliage. Magnificent!

Tatarian maple is a small tree, growing only about 20 feet tall and wide. Its upright, spreading habit makes it an outstanding accent tree in small yards. Hot Wings® is a selection of Tatarian maple noted for its radiant seed pods, vivid fall color and strong tree structure.

If you love maples, get an analysis of your soil. If your pH is acidic to near neutral (approx. 7.2 or below), you can grow the superstars of autumn: red and sugar maples.

Superior red maples include Northfire® and ‘Northwood’. Fall Fiesta® and Northern Flare® are great sugar maples admired for their gold and orange colors. Autumn Blaze® has red maple heritage and is the leading Freeman maple.

Tatarian maple
This small tree is one of the easiest to grow maples in the state.
For more information, watch NDSU Woody Plants Researcher Greg Morgenson’s presentation on Hardy Maples for North Dakota Landscapes.

Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Photos courtesy of Le.Loup.Gris via Wikimedia Commons and Tom Kalb. 

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