Amur maple

Acer ginnala

Invader Images

    • Amur maple leaf has three lobes, the center lobe is much more prominent than the other two lobes
      Amur maple leaf has three lobes, the center lobe is much more prominent than the other two lobes
    • Amur maple bark
      Amur maple bark
    • Amur maple samaras are droopy
      Amur maple samaras are droopy

Common Look-alikes

    • Red maple is a amur maple look-a-like
      Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Identification

Appearance

Acer ginnala is a small tree that grows 15-20 ft. (4.5-6 m) in height. The bark of the tree is smooth and gray.

Foliage

The leaves are opposite and 1-3 in. (2.5-7.5 cm) long. They are 3-lobed, with the terminal lobe elongated. The margins of the leaves are doubly serrate. This plant leafs out early in the spring. The fall color of the leaves is usually red, but some are bright yellow.

Flowers

The yellow-white flowers appear from May-June, after the tree has leafed out, and are borne in long-peduncled panicles. These flowers, unlike those of most maples, are fragrant.

Fruit

The reddish fruit, which hang on the tree until late fall, have nearly parallel wings and are 0.75-1 in. (2-2.5 cm) long. The seeds of Acer ginnala are dispersed primarily by wind with the help of winged samaras.

Biology

Ecological Threat

Amur maple can displace native shrubs and understory trees in open woods, and shades out native grasses and herbaceous plants in more open habitats. This plant has been widely planted for its hardiness and tolerates a wide range of hardiness zones (zones three through eight).

Origin

Central and northern China, Manchuria, and Japan. Introduced in the 1860s.

Habitat

Forests, forest edges, open disturbed areas, roadsides, ornamental plantings

Life Cycle

Fall leaf color is a brilliant red. Fragrant flowers appear in loose clusters in May and June. Fruit are numerous reddish, two-winged, inch long samaras that mature in late summer and persist on the tree until late fall.

Management Options

This species is Quarantined: Class B Noxious Weed

Mechanical Management

Prescribed fire will set back Amur maple, but not eliminate it. Small infestations can be controlled by grubbing out individual plants.

Chemical Management

These trees can be controlled using a cut-stump treatment with glyphosate herbicide or the cut-stump or basal bark treatment around the trunk with triclopyr herbicide.

  • Be careful not to damage or kill nearby native plants when conducting management work, and when using herbicides, always follow the instructions on the label.

How You Can Help

Native/non-invasive alternatives

Mountain maple (Acer spicatum), American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana), pagoda dogwood (Swida alternifolia)

Native Perennials and Shrubs for Vermont Gardens​​

Choose native plants

Alternatives to Common Invasive Plants and Characteristics of Select Alternatives