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The Best Southern Maples for Fall Color

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Trips to New England in the fall must be delightful – you get to wear a sweater in September, lobsters are plentiful and inexpensive, the woodlands are ablaze with color. The sugar maples that are native to that part of the word, Acer saccharum, not only give us maple syrup but reliably develop the red anthocyanin pigments as the rainfall and temperatures in those northern areas are usually just right for that process to occur. But down in the warmer southeast, our native maples, Red maple, Acer rubrum, are inconsistent in developing those glorious leaves. On a recent Making It Grow, our panelists Davis Sanders and Paul Thompson told us that there are southern maples, Acer leucoderme, chalk maple, and Acer saccharum variety floridum, Florida maple, that can survive our hot summers and are known for having fall color almost every year.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.