|Armstrong Freeman's Maple |
Freeman maples are known for their fast growth, tolerance of poor soil, and open form.
Armstrong Freeman's maple is fast-growing to 60-70 feet with a spread of perhaps 20-25 feet, with a tall, narrow habit. Grows best in full sun on well-drained soil, but can tolerate temporary wet conditions . Medium-green summer leaves have silvery undersides. Loose-plated bark (below) adds a touch of winter texture. Fall color can be spectacular scarlet to orange-red . An excellent specimen tree or in a narrow parkway or other restricted space .
The US Forest Service reports that three optimal and well-placed landscape trees can reduce the annual costs of heating and cooling a well-insulated northern Illinois home by about 6.5%. In a typically insulated house, more than 50% of heat gain can be traced to sunlight streaming through windows (and another 40% or so to infrared warming of the other exterior walls). Open-crowned deciduous trees that drop their leaves in autumn can block sunlight in the summertime but let it through in winter (somewhat attenuated by the shadows cast by the woody parts of the tree.)
Armstrong Freeman Maple is 60 years old 
The fast-growing Freeman maples are among a dozen or so trees recommended for planting to shield your home's southern exposure . However, the winged seeds can be a real nuisance when they get caught in gutters and downspouts. Any homeowner who has watched with chagrin as his of her gutters overflowed can attest to the tenacity of these suckers to travel great distances - a maple samara carried on a good breeze can travel hundreds of meters, and a mature sugar or silver maple can produce up to 9,000 lbs. of seeds each season!
1. Armstrong Freeman Maple, Morton Arboretum acc. 307-50-4, photos by Bruce Marlin
2. Katrina Lewin, Horticulturist, The Morton Arboretum, 'Coping with Clayey Soils'
3. Morton Arboretum, 'Landscaping Your Home for Energy Efficiency'
4. Morton Arboretum, 'Armstrong Freeman's Maple'
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Family Aceraceae - Maples
The Maples are some of our most familiar and beloved trees. Most are native to the far east: China, Japan, Korea, Manchuria. Maples produce a distinctive winged fruit called a samara, also commonly known as helicopters or whirlybirds.
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