5 Maple Trees That Will Thrive in Tennessee

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Written By Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

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Home » Tennessee » 5 Maple Trees That Will Thrive in Tennessee

If you’re wondering if you can successfully grow maple trees in Tennessee, the answer is a resounding yes! In fact, several varieties are well suited to Tennessee’s growing climates.

If you want to grow beautiful, healthy maple trees in your yard or landscape, read on to learn about our top five picks for maple trees that will thrive in TN.

5 Maple Trees to Grow in TN

1. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

Sugar Maple
Bruce Marlin, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The sugar maple is a lovely forest tree that thrives across the growing climates of TN. Its native range is the Eastern US, where it prefers growing in well-draining, fertile, moderately moist soil. Once established it’s fairly drought-resistant and can tolerate a wide range of soil types.

A fast-growing tree, the sugar maple is a great choice for gardeners who want a rapidly growing maple in their landscape.

This beautiful tree is commonly grown in park settings and other public natural spaces. It does not do well, however, in heavily polluted urban areas as it does not tolerate air pollution or salt well.

It also does not do well in confined spaces, and its roots are known to cause damage to sidewalks and buried pipes as the roots stretch for more space.

Other Common Names: Rock maple, Sugar tree, Sweet maple, Birds-eye maple

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 60-70 feet high with a 40-50 foot spread

Fall Colors: Gold, orange, and red

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

2. Autumn Blaze (Acer × freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze)

Autumn Blaze Maple Tree
Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Autumn blaze is actually a cross cultivar of two maple varieties on this list, red maple and silver maple.

The resulting cross captured the best features of both maple varieties. As such, autumn blaze features the brilliant red and scarlet fall colors of the red maple and has the hardiness and fast growth of the silver maple.

This lovely tree prefers growing in slightly acidic, moist soil and is not tolerant to salt exposure.

Other Common Names: Freeman Maple, Freeman’s Maple

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 feet tall with a 30-40 foot spread

Fall Colors: Bright orange-red

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

3. October Glory Red Maple (Acer Rubrum ‘October Glory’)

October Glory
Image via Nature Hills

October Glory is a favorite for its brilliant red fall foliage and growth habit that makes it an excellent shade tree. This fall favorite will thrive across TN’s growing climates.

One of the fastest-growing maples, it can grow more than 24 inches per year in its ideal growing conditions. October Glory thrives in slightly acidic, moist, fertile soil with direct sun to partial shade.

One of the hardier maple cultivars, October glory can tolerate a wide range of soil types and climates. In non-ideal growing conditions, however, its growth rate may slow down to about 13 inches per year.

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 feet high with a 30-40 foot spread

Fall Colors: Brilliant bright red

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

4. Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

While the silver maple may not display the most stunning maple tree fall foliage, its leaves have a different special feature. While the leaves are green, the underside of the leaves displays a shimmering silver sheen.

The silver maple is one of the largest species of maple trees and is a vastly popular shade maple. People especially enjoy sitting underneath it and admiring the underside of its shimmery leaves.

Another common name for silver maple is “swamp maple” because it can thrive growing in poorly-draining, swampy soil. Many gardeners plant silver maple next to a water source where it will thrive and add a lovely accent to the area.

Other Common Names: Creek maple, Silverleaf maple, Soft maple, Water maple, Swamp maple, White maple

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 feet tall with a 40-50 foot spread

Fall Colors: Yellow

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

5. Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)

Sycamore Maple
Willow, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sycamore maple is commonly seen growing in urban settings as it is notably tolerant of drought, salt, and air pollution.

It is a hardy, adaptable tree great for beginner gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance maple.

This tree is not native to North America and can have invasive growing habits if left to spread unchecked. However, due to its hardiness, it’s a popular street, sidewalk, parking lot, and median tree where it can thrive in poorer growing conditions without invasive spreading.

Other Common Names: Planetree maple

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 70-100 feet tall with a 65 to 80 foot spread

Fall Colors: Light yellow-orange

Available at: Nature Hills

Fall Color in Tennessee

By choosing one or more of the maples on this list, you can not only enjoy shade during the warmer months, but also a brilliant fall display.

Choose from vibrant red fall colors with Autumn Blaze and October Glory, through to gold, orange and yellow with the Sugar Maple or Silver Maple varieties.

Or plant a combination for an amazing backyard display come fall!

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Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

Lakeisha grew up in East Africa, literally surrounded by nature which sparked her interest in learning more about trees and plants from a very young age. She belongs to a family of gardeners, so for her, gardening is a way of life, a tradition she’s proud to uphold. As a self-taught gardener, Lakeisha has successfully grafted trees to produce hybrids for gardens and landscapes. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing about her experience with nature or watching baking fails!

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