A new maple that's drought-tolerant and cold hardy is expected to be on the retail market next year. And besides those attributes, it has deep orange-red fall color, an upright form, and great disease resistance.
Developed at New Mexico State University by Professor Rolston St. Hilaire, the university recently received a patent on the tree. In the Southwest, St. Hilaire noticed that the Bigtooth maple rivals East Coast sugar maples for brilliant color, and he was determined to develop one that could withstand a dry climate, salty soil, cold temperatures and lots of light.
It's taken more than 15 years, but in partnership with the J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. in Boring, Oregon, the tree became a reality after much time-consuming research.
St. Hilaire says the tree will be a benefit to homeowners. "...it's a smaller maple, it only grows to about 30 feet," he says, "So if a homeowner wants to have a tree that will have brilliant fall color, he or she can have that plant in his or her backyard."
According to J. Frank Schmidt, the tree is hardy to Zone 4, with a height of about 28 feet and a spread of 18 feet. It has an upright oval shape, with glossy dark green foliage that changes to deep red in autumn. Schmidt says the tree is a top choice for homeowners in the intermountain West. I wonder how it would do in the midwest, mid-Atlantic, or a little farther north.
For more on the tree with Prof. St. Hilaire, check out this You-tube video here.