The "Crimson King" red maple, or Acer platanoides, is also known as the Norway maple. This deciduous tree grows purple leaves that darken in colour over the summer to almost black, or turn yellow, before dropping in the fall.
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The tree reaches a height of 35 to 45 feet and a spread of 25 to 40 feet. It grows at a moderate speed, developing into an oval shape. Its thick branches are resistant to breakage, but its shallow roots and dense shade make grass growth and mowing beneath it difficult.
The Crimson King red maple grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 3b through 7b, covering most of the United States, with the exception of some southern and eastern coastal regions. It grows best in part to full sun in a variety of soil and shows moderate tolerance of drought and salt.
This tree is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, especially aphids and powdery mildew. Scales are sometimes a problem, as are---rarely---borers. Leaf scorch is possible during periods of intense summer heat and Verticillium wilt may also develop.
Crimson King red maple trees work well as shade trees because of their dense canopies of large leaves, each of which may reach up to 7 inches in width. The ornamental value of the tree stems mostly from its unusual leaf colour, although it also develops yellowish-green flowers in April.
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