7 USDA Zone 9 Maple Trees (Heat-Tolerant Varieties)

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 9 » 7 USDA Zone 9 Maple Trees (Heat-Tolerant Varieties)

A natural favorite in landscape gardening, maples are usually at the top of the list for homeowners who want to plant new trees on their property.

Their naturally aesthetic form, along with their incredible fall color and significant wildlife value, make them an obvious choice.

Most maples grow in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8, with a smaller selection of heat-tolerant trees that will still thrive in the heat of zone 9.

If you’re looking for a nice maple tree to establish on your property, consider one of these seven zone 9 maple trees.

7 Graceful Maples That Grow in Zone 9

1. Armstrong Maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Armstrong’)

The fast-growing, heat-tolerant Armstrong Maple will be a neat little addition to your zone 9 landscape. It offers year-round visual interest with its silvery gray bark, star-shaped leaves, and unusually narrow form.

Compared to most other maples, the Armstrong will look as thin as a spear on your property. While its fall foliage is not as brilliantly red as its parent tree, the Red Maple, it still has a lovely deep color that will grab attention in the landscape.

The Armstrong Maple is not a picky plant, tolerant of drought, flooding, and poor-quality soil. These qualities make it an excellent candidate for a street tree, as well as a privacy screen or specimen. Its narrow form also makes it a good choice for small yards and gardens.

Plant the Armstrong Maple in a location with full sun exposure in zone 9 and well-draining soil.

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 feet tall, with a 15-20 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)

Vine Maple Identification images
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

A native tree like the Vine Maple offers the best of both worlds, with the charm and color of a maple and the environmental benefits and easygoing nature of a US native.

This lovely ornamental tree grows large and shrubby, with gorgeous red-green bark, small red and white spring flowers, and textured leaves that turn a brilliant blend of red, gold, and orange in fall.

According to the NC State Extension, the Vine Maple is widely considered to be the most useful native tree for landscaping in the Pacific Northwest, so PNW residents in zone 9 should keep their eyes peeled! It can be used as a specimen, border, or patio tree, and looks lovely in a small grouping.

The Vine Maple can grow in a wide range of soil types, but for best results plant it in moist, fertile soil and do not prune it too heavily.

Other Common Names: Oregon Vine Maple

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 feet tall, with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

3. Himalayan Maple (Acer oblongum)

Himalayan Maple tree
Image by Ettore Balocchi via Flickr

This unique maple tree is not easy to find in the US, but it’s worth searching for if you want to prioritize maple trees in your zone 9 landscape. Being a native of central, eastern, and southeastern Asia, the Himalayan Maple can tolerate higher heat than the average maple tree.

It is a medium-sized tree with wrinkled bark and small, greenish-white flowers, and you’ll be delighted to know that, unlike the majority of maple trees, it is evergreen in zone 9!

That’s right, this maple will keep your property looking colorful in every season. It is best used as a shrubby specimen plant. These trees are also grown for their timber, though rarely on a commercial scale.

The Himalayan Maple prefers full sun and moist, well-draining soil. It will also thrive in a humid climate.

Other Common Names: Smooth Leaf Maple, Kashmir Maple, Evergreen Maple

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall

Fruiting Season: Summer

4. Seiryu Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’)

Seiryu Japanese Maple
Image via Nature Hills

Japanese Maples are a gorgeous dwarf species, adding incredible color and elegance in a small package. There are a number of Japanese maples that will grow well in zone 9, and the Seiryu is one of the best.

The Seiryu is a special cultivar, being the only Japanese maple with the highly sought-after dissected “lace” leaves while also growing in an upright shape instead of a weeping habit.

Its fine-textured foliage, straight and tall form, and lovely colored foliage all look beautiful in the landscape. Its leaves emerge pale green in spring before turning a yellowy-orange and magenta in fall.

It is ideal for use as an accent tree, a container plant, or in an informal grouping. They also look lovely near a water feature, and can be used in bonsai too!

Plant the Seiryu in rich, acidic, well-draining soil, in a location that provides plenty of afternoon shade to shield it from harsh summer sun.

Other Common Names: Lace-Leaf Japanese Maple

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 feet tall, with an 8-12 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

5. Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)

Bigleaf Maple and Leaf Identifying Features
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Another North American species, the Bigleaf Maple can be found in its native range along the west coast, all the way from Alaska to Southern California.

It is a large tree with an upright growth habit and a really considerable spread with enormous drooping branches, best planted in a spacious landscape. It gets its name from its dark green lobed leaves, which are the biggest of any maple species and turn a bright orange and yellow in fall.

Due to its spreading branches and large leaves the Bigleaf Maple makes an outstanding shade tree. It is also useful as a wildlife tree, providing food and shelter to local birds, mammals, and pollinators.

The Bigleaf Maple is a low-maintenance tree with few pest or disease issues, though it is worth watching out for signs of aphids and verticillium wilt. Plant in moist, well-draining soil in full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Oregon Maple

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-75 feet tall, with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Summer

6. Boxelder Maple (Acer negundo)

Box Elder Maple
Image by JKehoe_Photos via Flickr

The fast-growing, adaptable Boxelder is another heat-tolerant maple tree that should certainly be considered while you plan your zone 9 garden. It is a deciduous medium-sized tree with a somewhat irregular growth habit, compound leaves, and yellowish-green flowers.

Female Boxelders will produce pale yellow samaras that remain until fall and winter and are a great favorite of local wildlife. However, they can be messy, so some gardeners prefer to plant male trees exclusively.

The Boxelder also grows well outside of its native range and is tolerant of heat, cold, drought, and short periods of flooding. It can be used as a specimen tree, street tree, and shelterbelt and grows easily in moist, well-draining soil.

However, the Boxelder has its share of drawbacks: its wood is weak and prone to breakage, it is somewhat susceptible to pests like the box elder bug and has a short lifespan. Research carefully to decide if it’s the right choice for you.

Other Common Names: Manitoba Maple, Box Elder, Ashleaf Maple

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-50 feet tall, with a similar height

Fruiting Season: Fall to Winter

Available at: Nature Hills

7. Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

One of the most widely planted shade trees in the US, the Silver Maple has an interesting combination of positive and negative features. It is a deciduous and ultra-fast-growing maple, able to reach heights of 25 feet tall in just ten years.

Paired with its oval crown and dense, shade-giving foliage, it is an appealing option for many homeowners and landscape gardeners.

Given the Silver Maple grows in ranges as high as zone 9, it is also an easy choice for gardeners in warm climates who want to establish a shade tree, specimen, windbreak, or shelterbelt as quickly as possible. Plant in light, well-draining soil in full sun to partial shade. It is tolerant to wet soil and drought.

These days some gardeners have turned their back on the Silver Maple due to its weak wood that is prone to breakage, and its mature appearance, which they say can look rather ragged and underwhelming in the landscape.

Other Common Names: Water Maple, Soft Maple, Creek Maple, River Maple, White Maple, Silverleaf Maple

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-100 feet tall, with a 35-50 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Add Color and Beauty With These Maple Trees

While your options for maple trees may be more limited than they would be in cooler regions, there are still a number of good choices for zone 9 gardens. From the useful vine maple to the heat-loving Himalayan to the lovely Seiryu Japanese maple, these zone 9 maple trees are worth considering.

If you’re looking for more zone 9 compatible trees that tend to grow in cooler zones, consider these pine trees that thrive in hot climates.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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