Red Rage TupeloNyssa sylvatica 'Haymanred'
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Nyssa sylvatica 'Haymanred'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Red Rage Tupelo is an outstanding selection of the black tupelo, a native tree of the east, which grows in many different conditions, including wet and dry soils. It has reliable and spectacular fall colors of brilliant reds and handsome glossy, dark-green summer leaves. This tree has a pyramidal form with a strong central trunk, growing at a moderate pace to over 40 feet tall and 20 feet wide – a narrow size suitable for smaller gardens. Grow it as a shade tree or specimen on a lawn, by water or mixed with other trees. It’s ideal for natural plantings.
Full sun or light shade both suit the Red Rage Tupelo, which grows best in slightly acidic, moist soils, but is very adaptable, growing well in all but the most alkaline soils, both wet and dry. A good choice for wet areas that are often flooded, or beside water. It is generally pest free and resistant to the black spot fungus that often damages trees of this species. No particular care is needed, and since it doesn’t make fruit it is an exceptionally clean tree for your garden.
Fall color is always welcomed, it’s strange how those ‘hot’ colors welcome the cooler days after the heat of summer. But fall color can be unreliable and very dependent on local climate and the particular weather of the year. If you want the most reliable color, a virtually guarantee of fall beauty, then look no further than the Red Rage Tupelo, a fantastic selection of a native tree that always delivers bold red fall colors in a wide range of conditions. Perhaps associated more with honey than gardens in many people’s minds, the tupelo is a great choice for a specimen tree when you want something different, beautiful and easy to grow, even in wet ground. The glossy summer leaves are a rich, cooling green and then, before most other trees turn, they catch fire in wonderful tones of rich orangey reds from top to bottom and all through the crown. This tree colors just as well in hot zones, where fall color is especially elusive and this particular variety is free of the unsightly leaf spots that can make the tupelo less attractive. It doesn’t fruit either, so less mess means more time to relax and admire your garden.
The Red Rage Tupelo is an upright tree with a strong, single central trunk and radiating branches that grow out more or less horizontally. It forms a loose pyramid, becoming wider with age. It grows 12 to 18 inches a year when young, and mature trees will be 35 to 45 feet tall and up to 25 feet wide. The bark on mature trees has been compared to the skin of an alligator – dark gray and divided into distinctive narrow vertical blocks separated by deep clefts. The leaves are simple long ovals, 4 to 6 inches long and about 3 inches wide with smooth edges and tapering to a short point at the end. They are very glossy, and for most of the growing season they are rich medium-green, always looking good because this variety is resistant to disfiguring leaf spots.
When fall arrives this is one of the first trees to color, beginning with tones of yellow, purple and orange, before settling on a uniform brilliant red with orange undertones. It is certainly one of the most spectacular fall trees, and especially valuable in warm to hot parts of the country, where many fall trees don’t color much at all. The tupelo tree generally has separate male and female trees (dioecious), and this variety is a male tree so it doesn’t produce any fruit, making it very clean. The tiny male flowers are greenish-yellow balls that are not noticeable.
The RED RAGE Tupelo is a great choice when you want a shade tree for a lawn, or a specimen tree to plant by water or among other trees for interest. If you have a large yard a collection of interesting trees is a great – and low-maintenance – way of making it interesting, and this tree is always going to be a highlight. Because it is relatively slender it could be planted within 12 feet of a building or property line, so a row would make a gorgeous boundary and privacy screen – plant 8 to 12 feet apart. When planting, always allow enough room for the final development of trees, and don’t plant under power lines or up against your house. Choose your spot well, as once established this tree is very difficult to move successfully.
This tree is remarkably hardy across a wide range of climate zones. It grows well in zone 5 and would probably grow in a sheltered area in zone 4. Yet it also grows well in the southeast and thrives in heat and humidity all the way into zone 9.
As with all trees that color in fall, the RED RAGE Tupelo grows best in full sun, but it is also surprisingly good in some light shade. Moist, rich, deep, slightly acidic soil is considered ideal, but this tree is very tough and will grow in almost all garden conditions. Avoid very alkaline soils. It grows in ordinary soils; tolerates moderate drought once it is established; but it also grows well in wet soil, and even in standing water.
Pests almost never bother this tree, and this variety is resistant to the most common disease – black leaf spots caused by a fungus – so the leaves stay clean and attractive throughout the seasons. Unfortunately deer often eat the leaves of young trees, but once established and older they are left alone. The lower branches on older trees tend to droop, so if you want a clean trunk and clearance underneath, remove some of the lower branches while the tree is young, to avoid unsightly scarring. Try to keep a single central trunk – if you see the trunk dividing, cut back hard all but the most central stem.
Tupelo trees are called Nyssa, appropriately named after Greek water nymphs (Naiads), and are a small group of trees from North America, with three species from Asia. Often called black tupelo or black gum, Nyssa sylvatica is different from the water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) from the southeast. Black tupelo is found growing wild all through the east, from southern Maine and the most southern tip of Canada through most of Florida and west into Oklahoma and Texas. For many years this tree was not widely grown because seedling trees are very variable, so you don’t really know what your mature tree is going to look like. This encouraged plant-people to look for good trees that could then be reproduced by grafting. The variety called Haymanred was found by Mike Hayman in Indiana towards the end of the last century. In 2002 it was trademarked by the J. Frank Schmidt & Son nursery with the name Red Rage®.
The Red Rage Tupelo is among the very best choices when you want to plant a tupelo tree, with excellent summer foliage and fall colors. If you like trees you will love this one, so branch out and plant one in your garden. But order now, because this popular variety is always hard to find and sells out very quickly.