Manitoba Maple

Posted by shane - January 8, 2015 - A-Z Plant Maintenance, Trees - No Comments

Acer negundo

Acer negundo ‘Sensation’

A squirrel in a residential maple at Lac la Nonne, AB.  S. LePage photo.

A squirrel in a residential maple at Lac la Nonne, AB. S. LePage photo.

People seem to love or hate this tree.  Personally, I like it.  It’s a nice, medium- to large shade tree, often with an interesting twisted trunk and unusual structure.  Older specimens fit well in a creative garden.  The nice thing about Manitoba maple, aka. Boxelder, is that it grow so well in our region – sometimes too well, and I guess that’s why people consider it a weed.  Volunteer maples always seem to be popping up in the worst places, like that one foot space between the shed and the fence, in between the old boards and the firewood pile.

Manitoba maples are prone to aphid outbreaks every few years, which can leave a tree mostly defoliated and dripping with sticky honeydew in summer.  We often see severe tip-dieback after an aphid outbreak, which looks unsightly and is difficult to remove on large trees without a lift truck.  Maples recover very well from insect attack and readily put on new growth.  This is one of the fastest growing shade trees on the Prairies.  Older specimens can get severe root rot, and can topple from the base if the ground is saturated, such as after heavy rains in early June.  If you have an old maple, I recommend having it assessed by an arborist for safety purposes.

There is a newer variety called ‘Sensation’ that boasts nice orange spring colour and oustanding red fall colour.


Full sun

Pruning Time

Late May until mid-September, while the leaves are still green.


Train young trees as a central leader standard.  Subordinate co-dominant leaders and ensure well-spaced scaffold (main) branches.  Older trees will benefit aesthetically from occasion deadwood removal.  Reduce over extended limbs to prevent storm damage.  Avoid large pruning cuts as maple readily decays, substantially weakening cut limbs.  Annually, remove suckers at the base of the tree and trunk to improve the appearance.

Row of maples along a garden.  S. LePage photo.

Row of maples along a garden. S. LePage photo.

Crown Reduction & Shaping

Not recommended.  Avoid.





(c) 2015 Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden & Tree Service Inc., Red Deer, AB