Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple

Acer x freemanii ‘DTR 102’

Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple

Acer x freemanii ‘DTR 102’

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple is a large, fast-growing shade tree, reaching 30 feet within 10 years and growing to be over 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide. It has a full, rounded or oval crown, and a strong trunk. The green leaves are silvery on the underside, and all leaves, even on young trees, turn brilliant red in October. This is a great specimen or shade tree for a lawn or in woodland, and it can be planted as a screening tree or avenue.

  • Beautiful large shade tree with a rounded crown
  • Spectacular fiery red leaves in October
  • Great choice in areas where red maple will not grow
  • Grows well even on dry and alkaline soils
  • Fast growing, adding up to 4 feet a year when young

The Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple grows where red maple usually won’t – in hot, dry areas and on alkaline soils. It grows best in full sun, and it will grow in almost any soil, from moist to dry and from acid to alkaline. Once established it is drought resistant, and usually free of pests or diseases. Some formative pruning as it develops is recommended. Allow plenty of room and height for its ultimate size when choosing a planting spot.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-9
Mature Width 45
Mature Height 55
Sun Needs Full Sun
Zones 3-9

So you love the spectacular fall leaves of the red maple? But you live in a hot, dry area, or on alkaline soil, where they usually don’t do well? We have good news for you, and the tree you need – the Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple. This hybrid tree looks like a red maple, with those unbeatable bright red fall leaves that blow us away every year. But its hybrid nature makes it a fast grower and created a tree that thrives where red maple fails – in hot, dry conditions, and on alkaline soils. If those conditions sound like yours, perhaps in the Southeast, Kansas or in California, or anywhere on dry, alkaline soils, then this is the maple tree you want for a specimen, a spectacular avenue or a row of screening trees.

Growing the Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple

Size and Appearance

The Autumn Fantasy Red Maple is a large, deciduous tree growing rapidly to become a specimen over 50 feet tall and over 40 feet wide. It has open branching, and develops a rounded to broadly oval, on a single clean trunk. The bark is smooth and silvery-gray when young, becoming dark gray to gray-brown when older, and developing attractive vertical scales on a lighter background. The branches are upright and vigorous, with many vertical ascending limbs developing into a dense crown. This tree grows much faster than other red maple trees, with younger trees adding between 3 and 4 feet to their height every year, after a year or two to become established. Within 10 years you can expect your tree to be 30 feet tall, and then grow more slowly to its mature height.

The leaves are between 3 and 5 inches long and wide, divided into 3 to 5 lobes by deep divisions, and with a jagged edge. They are a lustrous green color, with a silvery-green underside, making a very attractive background or lawn specimen throughout the spring and summer. In October every leaf, even on young trees, turns brilliant fire red, setting your garden ablaze with color and making a spectacular show wherever it is planted. Growing in drier conditions doesn’t stop the colors – if anything it makes them even stronger.

Using the Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple in Your Garden

This tree is perfect wherever you want a large shade tree that will lift your fall garden to another level. It has a dense crown that throws good shade over a large area. Planted to the south of your home it will cool it in summer and save on your AC costs. It makes a great screening tree, planted in a row to hide an unsightly view or give summer privacy, as well as reducing winds. Space trees 15 feet apart for a dense screen within a few years. A pair of these trees is perfect for framing an entrance gateway, or for lining a driveway, along one side or both sides. Space the trees 25 to 30 feet apart to retain their individual character when they mature, for the best avenue effect. You can also add it to wooded areas to bring lots of fall color.


Because it is a hybrid, the Autumn Fantasy Red Maple is especially hardy, even in the cold conditions of zones 4 and even into zone 3. Yet it is also highly resistant to heat and dryness, so it grows well in zone 8 and into zone 9. This is certainly one of the very best red maples for hot, dry parts of the country.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Plant the Autumn Fantasy Red Maple in full sun for the best growth and leaf coloring. It will tolerate a little partial shade, but not too much. It can be planted where it is in shade to begin with but will reach the sun as it develops. Most red maples trees need moist, acidic soil to grow well, but the hybrid origin of this tree overcomes that. It will grow well in almost all soils, including poorer dry soils, and also in alkaline soils, without developing the yellow leaves (called ‘chlorosis’) that red maples do on those kinds of soils. Once established this is one of the most drought resistant of all red maple trees.

Maintenance and Pruning

When planting, allow for the future size of this tree and don’t plant beneath power lines, or within 25 feet of a building or property line. This tree is generally free of important pests or diseases. Water newly-planted trees regularly for the first season or two, particularly on dry soil.

If you wish to raise the crown for clearance beneath the tree – for walking or vehicles, then remove lower branches progressively as the tree grows, until you reach the height of clean trunk you want. Removing branches when they are still young means quick healing of the cuts and the development of a clean, unscarred trunk which is better visually and more healthier for your tree. Some removal of branches within the crown may be useful to give your tree its best form. It is best to remove one branch when you see two branches with a narrow junction (called a narrow crotch angle), as this can lead to breakage in future years.

History and Origin of the Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple

This tree is a natural hybrid between the red maple (Acer rubrum) and the silver maple (Acer saccharinum). This hybrid was first created by Oliver M. Freeman of the U.S. National Arboretum in 1933. For that reason it is known as Freeman’s maple, Acer x freemanii. Since then it has been repeated several times. Both of the parent trees are American native trees, and red maple is the most abundant tree in eastern North America. It grows all the way from Manitoba to Newfoundland, and south to Florida and Texas. It is usually found in moist or wet areas, around swamps and in wetland regions. The silver maple is closely related to it, and grows over a similar area, but not as far south.

Willet Wandell owned a nursery in Oquawka, Illinois, and he developed several new varieties of trees. Around 1980 he saw a unique tree growing in a private garden in Urbana, Illinois. He grafted branches from it, and grew trees, and showed that this tree was a natural Freeman’s maple. He patented it in 1991 with the name, ‘DTR 102’ (PP# 7,655, now expired) and released it with the trademark name of Autumn Fantasy®.

Buying the Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple at The Tree Center

We love how this tree makes growing a beautiful red maple possible for everyone who lives on soils, and in climates, where other red maple will not grow. Heck, this is such a fast-growing tree, and so beautiful, you can grow it anywhere. So order now, because our stock of a beautiful tree like this will soon be all gone.

Back to top

Autumn Fantasy® Red Maple

Acer x freemanii ‘DTR 102’