The Crimson King is the most famous cultivar of the Norway Maples. It is noted for its maroon leaves that last all summer. It was introduced to the United States in 1948 from France.
Commonly planted as a street tree, it is usually intermixed with the green varieties to avoid a dark and somber appearance. The deep colored leaves create a dense shade, making it hard to grow grass or other plants underneath. A shallow surface root system further adds to these difficulties.
Crimson King grows slower and matures at a smaller size than the green-leafed varieties and is more sensitive to some insects and diseases. It tolerates partial shade and a wide range of soils, but it doesn’t like wet feet, so avoid poor drainage areas. At maturity, it will reach 40 feet tall by 50 feet wide, but usually is found smaller.
Avoid excessive pruning to reduce possibility of sun scald, prune in winter and never top! This is a bad practice for all trees as it not only ruins the aesthetic beauty of the tree, but also opens it up to sun scald, diseases and insects. Crimson King maples are highly intolerant of harsh pruning.
When planted in the right location Crimson King maples can be a beautiful and hardy addition to any landscape, providing a little splash of color in your verdant forest.