Acer platanoides 'Deborah'
Common Name: Norway maple
Type: Tree
Family: Sapindaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 40.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Drought, Air Pollution

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils. Tolerant of heat and drought. Generally tolerant of many urban pollutants. Freely reseeds. Trees have escaped cultivation and naturalized in many areas of the northeastern and upper midwestern U.S. Shallow root system.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer platanoides, commonly called Norway maple, is native to Europe. It has been widely planted in urban areas throughout much of the U. S. It is a medium-sized deciduous shade tree typically growing 40-50’ tall with a dense, symmetrical, rounded crown. Leaves (to 7” across) have five sharply pointed lobes and resemble those of sugar maple. Leaf stems exude a milky sap when cut. Fall color is usually an unremarkable yellow. Small yellow flowers in erect clusters (corymbs) appear in spring before the foliage. Flowers give way to paired seeds with horizontally spreading wings (samaras to 2” long).

Species name means resembling the genus Platanus (sycamore), which is somewhat curious since the leaves of Norway maple do not really bear that much resemblance to sycamores.

‘Deborah’ is a cultivar with an oval-rounded habit that is noted for its bright red emerging leaves that change over a 4-6 week period to deep maroon and finally dark green. Leaves display a wrinkled appearance with crinkled and undulating margins. Fall color is yellow-orange to bronze. Yellow flowers appear in clusters before the foliage in spring. Though small, the flowers have ornamental value. Flowers give way to samaras (to 1 1/2” long) with horizontally spreading wings. ‘Deborah’ was selected in 1967 as a seedling of A. platanoides ‘Schwedleri’. U. S. Plant Patent PP4,944 issued November 16, 1982.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to verticillium wilt which is usually fatal. Shallow root system can crack or heave nearby driveways or sidewalks. Shallow surface roots can interfere with turf. Bark is susceptible to sunscald and cracking (frost cracks) in winter, particularly on younger trees. The thick canopy of leaves and shallow roots severely limits what can be grown within the drip line of the tree.

Garden Uses

Shade tree. Although once widely planted as a street tree, this use is not generally recommended in many areas now.