Maples For Cold Climates – Types Of Maple Trees For Zone 4

Maples For Cold Climates – Types Of Maple Trees For Zone 4

By: Liz Baessler

Zone 4 is a difficult area where many perennials and even trees cannot survive the long, cold winter. One tree that comes in many varieties that can endure zone 4 winters is the maple. Keep reading to learn more about cold hardy maple trees and growing maple trees in zone 4.

Cold Hardy Maple Trees for Zone 4

There are plenty of cold hardy maple trees that will make it through a zone 4 winter or colder. This only makes sense, as the maple leaf is the central figure of the Canadian flag. Here are some popular maple trees for zone 4:

Amur Maple– Hardy all the way to zone 3a, Amur maple grows to between 15 and 25 feet (4.5-8 m.) in height and spread. In the fall, its dark green foliage turns bright shades of red, orange, or yellow.

Tatarian Maple– Hardy to zone 3, tatarian maples usually reach between 15 and 25 feet (4.5-8 m.) high and wide. Its large leaves usually turn yellow and sometimes red, and drop a little early in the fall.

Sugar Maple– The source of ever popular maple syrup, sugar maples are hardy down to zone 3 and tend to reach between 60 and 75 feet (18-23 m.) in height with a 45 foot (14 m.) spread.

Red Maple– Hardy to zone 3, the red maple gets its name not just for its brilliant fall foliage, but also for its red stems that keep providing color in winter. It grows 40 to 60 feet (12-18 m.) high and 40 feet (12 m.) wide.

Silver Maple– Hardy to zone 3, the undersides of its leaves are silver in color. Silver maple is fast growing, reaching between 50 and 80 feet (15-24 m.) high with a spread of 35 to 50 feet (11-15 m.). Unlike most maples, it prefers shade.

Growing maple trees in zone 4 is relatively straightforward. Apart from the silver maple, most maple trees prefer full sun, though they will tolerate a little shade. This, along with their color, makes them excellent standalone trees in the backyard. They tend to be healthy and hardy with few pest problems.

This article was last updated on


Seedless Maple Trees

Several seedless maple varieties are available, either hybrids or male selections that do not produce seeds. Most notable are the freemanii cultivars

Acer freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’ Autumn Blaze Maple

  • Zones: 3-8
  • Full sun to Part Shade
  • Height: 50-60’
  • Spread: 40-50’
  • Shape: Oval to rounded
  • Growth Rate: Very fast, 3 feet or more per year
  • Soil Preference: Adaptable, tolerates clay. Prefers acidic soil, from 5.1 to 6.0
  • Moisture Preference: Adaptable, tolerates drought
  • Foliage: Dense, medium green
  • Blooms: Reddish clusters on females
  • Fruit: Seedless or nearly seedless

Autumn Blaze Maple is a hybrid cross between a red maple and silver maple. It is drought and moisture tolerant. Leaves open with a reddish tint in spring. Branching habit is well balanced with an oval to rounded crown and a strong central leader. Branches are ascending at a 45 degree angle. Its’ uniform shape requires little or no pruning. Weaker wood characteristics of the silver maple have been inherited, but not as susceptible to storm damage with superior crotch angles. Hardy reliable grower, in ideal conditions growing easily over 3 feet per year. Tolerates drought. More drought and pH tolerant than the red maple. Gorgeous fall color of brilliant red orange lasts longer than other maples and of the freemanii varieties has the most intense red to red-orange fall color. New branch growth may retain some red coloring through winter. Very easy to grow and very adaptable to most conditions. Fertilize once a year in early spring with a slow release fertilizer.

There are several other varieties of the Acer freemanii, not all are seedless:

Armstrong’ has a strong upright growing habit, nearly columnar when young. Crown is open and round, widened to a narrow oval at maturity. Fall color is orange-yellow to red. Good shade or street tree or for narrow places. Will hold up in extreme environmental conditions. Red seeds attract birds. Hardy to zone 3, grows 45-70’ tall and 15-25’ wide.

Autumn Fantasy’ has larg leaves with deep ruby red fall color. Reaches 45-50’ tall and 35-40’ wide with a broad rounded crown producing dense shade. Will thrive in average soil and prefers moist conditions but will tolerate drought very well. Very adaptable. Hardy in zones 3-9. Rarely produces seeds.

CelzamCelebration is more compact with red and golden yellow fall color. It is very disease resistant, tolerant of urban pollution and strong limbs and crotches withstand snow and ice. Requires no pruning to maintain a nice rounded pyramid shape. Reaches 45’ high and 20-25’ wide. Blooms are red. A male variety with no seeds.

Indian Summer’ is most similar to a Red Maple. Crown is oval to rounded. Fall foliage is a bright rosy red. Known in Canada as ‘Morgan’.

Marmo’ is quite large reaching up to 80’ and 35-40’ wide. It has an upright oval to columnar crown with red-maroon fall color contrasted with green and yellow patches. Tolerant of urban conditions and a wide range of soil conditions including heavy clay. Hardy to zone 4. Seedless.

Scarlet Sentinel’ has an upright habit with a columnar to oval crown. Fall color is yellow-orange to red. Grows quickly to 50’ tall and 25’ wide. Grows well in full sun to part shade and is hardy in zones 3-8. Flowers are sparse with no seeds.

Acer x freemani ‘Sienna Glen’ Sienna Glen Maple

Sienna Glen is a unique variety of Autumn Blaze Maple that was discovered in Minnesota. Hardy in zones 3-6, it has superior winter hardiness, is more resistant to sun scald and frost cracking, and tolerates adverse conditions including wind and ice. Will tolerate wet soils, alkaline and salt spray. Leaves are slightly smaller giving it a more delicate appearance than the Autumn Blaze. Form is slightly more pyramidal. Fall color includes red orange as well as burgundy. Reaches 50’ tall and 40’ wide.

Acer rubrum ‘Brandywine’ Brandywine Red Maple

  • Zones: 4-8
  • Sun to Part Sun
  • Height: 25’ or more
  • Spread: 12’ or more
  • Shape: Oval
  • Growth Rate: Medium to fast
  • Soil Preference: Prefers moist, slightly acidic, but is widely adaptable.
  • Moisture: Prefers moist
  • Foliage: Medium green
  • Blooms: Red small blooms, only male
  • Fruit: Seedless

‘Brandywine’ red maple is a cross between ‘October Glory’ and ‘Autumn Flame’ acer rubrums. Fall color is a brilliant red-purple, beginning red and turning brilliant red-purple. Excellent lawn or street tree.

Acer rubrum ‘Jamestown’ Jamestown Maple

  • Zones: 4-8
  • Sun to Part Sun
  • Height: 40-70’
  • Spread: 25-35’
  • Shape:
  • Growth Rate: Medium to fast
  • Soil Preference: Prefers moist but is widely adaptable.
  • Moisture: Average moisture requirements
  • Foliage: Deep green and dense
  • Blooms: Red small blooms, only male
  • Fruit: Seedless

Jamestown Red Maple is a seedless variety of acer rubrum ‘Autumn Flame’. It grows faster than the ‘Autumn Flame’ and has a dense branching habit. Fall color is two toned with bright red leaf tips.

Acer rubrum ‘Somerset’ Red Maple

  • Zones: 4-8
  • Sun to Part Sun
  • Height: 23’ or more
  • Spread: 12’ or more
  • Shape: Oval
  • Growth Rate: Medium to fast
  • Soil Preference: Adaptable, prefers slightly acid
  • Moisture: Prefers moist soils
  • Foliage: Green
  • Blooms: Red small blooms, only male
  • Fruit: Seedless

Somerset Maple is a cross between ‘October Glory’ and ‘Autumn Flame’ acer rubrums. Brilliant red fall color is exceptionally long lasting, and will color well as far south as Georgia. ‘Somerset’ is significantly more resistant to the effects of the potato leafhopper, often quite damaging to red maples. Performs well in diverse locations. Excellent lawn or street tree.

Acer rubrum ‘Sun Valley’ Red Maple

  • Zones: 4-7
  • Sun to Part Sun
  • Height: 21’ or more
  • Spread: 10’ or more
  • Shape: Symmetrically oval
  • Growth Rate: Medium to fast
  • Soil Preference: Adaptable, prefers slightly acidic
  • Moisture: Prefers moist soil
  • Foliage: Green
  • Blooms: Red small blooms, only male
  • Fruit: Seedless

‘Sun Valley’ Maple is a cross between ‘’Red Sunset’ and ‘Autumn Flame’ acer rubrums. Brilliant red fall color is exceptionally long lasting and consistently displays good color. ‘Sun Valley’ is significantly more resistant to the effects of the potato leafhopper, often quite damaging to red maples. Performs well in diverse locations. Excellent lawn or street tree.

*Also see the Acer rubrum Red Maples ‘Autumn Flame’, ‘October Glory’ and ‘Red Sunset’. Male specimens are seedless.

Acer saccharinum ‘Mareltoi’

Mareltoi may be the only seedless Silver Maple available. It is slow growing and has distinctively split lacy leaves. The wood of the ‘Mareltoi’ is much harder than most silver maples. Mature height would be expected about one-third the height of most silver maples, could nearly be considered a dwarf. Resistant to insects and blight. Very cold hardy.


32 Fast-Growing Trees:

1. Freeman’s Maple

The Freeman’s maple is a hybrid variety with gorgeous colorful foliage that reveals itself at the turn of the season in the fall. The fast-growing tree, which is a cross between the red and silver maple, offers the best of both worlds. It’s sturdy and doesn’t have an aggressive root system.

Suitable zones for planting: 5-8

Mature height: up to 60-feet

2. Hybrid Poplar

The hybrid poplar is incredibly fast-growing, and many varieties are disease-resistant. Planting is headache-free, and the tree is also a sustainable source of firewood.

Suitable zones for planting: 3-9

Mature height: up to 50-feet

Drawbacks: Has a short lifespan and is weak-wooded.

3. Tulip Tree

The tulip tree is native to eastern parts of North America and is named for its pretty tulip-like flowers. Flowering only occurs when the tree is older, but attract native species of hummingbirds and other wildlife.

Suitable zones for planting: 5-9

Mature height: up to 90-feet

Drawbacks: Makes a mess and has a poor tolerance for drought.

4. Sycamore

A native tree to California, the American sycamore grows massive and has an impressive spread. A beautiful tree for those with room to spare.

Suitable zones for planting: 7-10

Mature height: up to 100-feet

Drawbacks: Not suitable for small areas and has aggressive roots.

5. Eastern Redbud

via Eric Kilby

Native to North America, the Eastern redbud offers a beautiful spring display of pink blossoms. The elegant tree flowers even when young and attracts butterflies.

Suitable zones for planting: 4-9

Mature height: up to 30-feet

Drawbacks: Prone to fungal diseases and sap-sucking pests.

6. Sweet Bay Magnolia

An ornamental variety that leaves behind less of a mess than other magnolias. Also features fragrant flowers.

Suitable zones for planting: 5-10

Mature height: up to 50-feet

Drawbacks: Poor tolerance for drought.

7. Shamel Ash

Shamel ash trees are native to Southern California and parts of Mexico. They provide a generous amount of shade and have the quickest growth rate of all ash varieties.

Suitable zones for planting: 8-10

Mature height: up to 40-feet

Drawbacks: Susceptible to diseases that affect the leaves and appearance of the tree.

8. Nuttall Oak

This fast-growing tree has few problems and is an all-around tolerant variety with attractive fall foliage.

Suitable zones for planting: 6-9

Mature height: up to 60-feet

9. Eucalyptus Gunnii

Native to Australia this tree is also known by the name cider gum. The hardy plant produces sap that can be transformed into an edible syrup. It’s is also a useful source of firewood.

Suitable zones for planting: 7-10

Mature height: up to 80-feet

Drawbacks: Susceptible to fungal diseases.

10. Leyland Cypress

The dense growth of this tree makes it a good choice for adding privacy to your yard.

Suitable zones for planting: 6-10

Mature height: up to 70-feet

Drawbacks: Requires regular pruning.

11. Pecan Tree

A producer of yummy nuts that can be used for pies and other culinary delights. It’s the state tree of Texas and has an incredibly long lifespan.

Suitable zones for planting: 6-9

Mature height: up to 100-feet

Drawbacks: You’ll need to plant more than one of this extremely large tree to ensure pollination occurs.

12. River Birch

River birches thrive when planted near water and can handle waterlogged soils. They are more disease-resistant than other birch varieties.

Suitable zones for planting: 4-9

Mature height: up to 70-feet

Drawbacks: Branches are delicate and prone to falling and making a mess.

13. Paper Birch

One of my personal favorites and the state tree of New Hampshire, the smooth papery bark of this birch gives it its name. It’s also an important tree for wildlife.

Suitable zones for planting: 2-7

Mature height: up to 70-feet

Drawbacks: Not suitable for highly polluted areas and is vulnerable to breakage from wind and ice.

14. Red Maple

The red maple almost looks as if it’s on fire in the autumn thanks to its brilliant red foliage display. The tree is native to eastern and central regions of North America and is an excellent source of food for many small mammals.

Suitable zones for planting: 3-9

Mature height: up to 60-feet

Drawbacks: Susceptible to breakage.

15. Silver Maple

Native to North America, the silver maple grows quickly and offers ample shade. Its beautiful leaves feature silver undersides that seem to glitter in the wind. I have two mature silver maples on my property, and they offer great shade and privacy. They do require some maintenance, though, and every fall we have a ton of leaves to rake!

Suitable zones for planting: 3-9

Mature height: up to 80-feet

Drawbacks: Far-reaching root system may cause problems if the tree is planted near sidewalks or home foundations. Branches are prone to breakage, as well.

16. Frisia

The delicate Frisia is native to North America and is also known as the golden locust tree.

Suitable zones for planting: 4-9

Mature height: up to 25-feet

Drawbacks: Weak branches and requires regular upkeep and pruning.

17. Mountain Ash

The mountain ash has a fairly compact growth habit and is both hardy and easy to grow.

Suitable zones for planting: 2-5

Mature height: up to 25-feet

Drawbacks: Short lifespan and susceptible to pollution.

18. Acacia

Includes multiple varieties that are suitable for warm climates and drought-prone areas.

Suitable zones for planting: 9-11

Drawbacks: Most acacia trees aren’t particularly long-lived.

19. Bayberry

The bayberry is also known as wax myrtle. The berry-laden shrub is cold hardy and has many uses. Parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes, and the berries are often used in candlemaking because of their pleasant scent.

Suitable zones for planting: 3-7

Mature height: up to 8-feet

20. Bald Cypress

Native to Southern parts of the United States, this conifer grows well in swampy areas.

Suitable zones for planting: 4-10

Mature height: up to 70-feet

Drawbacks: Slower growth that other trees on this list and is susceptible to certain pests.

21. Palo Verde

An attractive desert variety with a distinct appearance.

Suitable zones for planting: 9-10

Mature height: up to 25-feet

Drawbacks: Not a good choice for allergy sufferers. Some people call it the Claritin tree.

22. Japanese Pagoda Tree

This fast-growing tree is native to China and Korea and is also known as the Chinese scholar tree. A neighbor down the road has one of these growing in their front yard and it’s a beauty. The pagoda tree is a nice ornamental with pretty flowers. It’s also heat and drought tolerant.

Suitable zones for planting: 4-9

Mature height: up to 60-feet

Drawbacks: Makes a mess when flowers drop and smaller trees may be damaged if temperatures drop too low.

23. Dawn Redwood

Trying to come up with a more majestic tree than the dawn redwood is tough. It has a quick growth rate and is nearly maintenance-free. It also offers shelter for small animals and birds during the colder months.

Suitable zones for planting: 5-8

Mature height: up to 100-feet

Drawbacks: Sensitive to frost (best planted early on in the fall) and requires a lot of room to thrive. This is one substantial mature tree.

24. Chilean Mesquite

The Chilean mesquite is native to South America and features a lovely shape. It’s a great shade tree.

Suitable zones for planting: 9-11

Mature height: up to 30-feet

Drawbacks: Seed pods create a mess, and the tree has aggressive roots.

25. Strawberry Tree

No, this fast-growing tree doesn’t produce actual strawberries, but little edible fruits do grow on its branches.

Suitable zones for planting: 4-9

Mature height: up to 30-feet

Drawbacks: Slow-growing compared to other trees featured.

26. Royal Empress

When it comes to fast-growing trees, this is one of the quickest. It’s native to China and has a growth rate of up to 15-feet per year. It’s drought tolerant, does a great job at filtering air, and has beautiful blooms.

Suitable zones for planting: 7-11

Mature height: up to 50-feet

Drawbacks: Sadly, it’s invasive and has a strong tendency to crowd out other plant life.

27. American Elm

Grows reasonably rapidly and is native to the Eastern United States.

Suitable zones for planting: 3-9

Mature height: more than 40-feet

Drawbacks: Unfortunately, this gorgeous elm variety is vulnerable to a host of diseases including Dutch Elm disease, which has decimated populations of this tree.

28. Zelkova

The zelkova is native to Japan and grows at a moderate pace each year. It’s an appropriate option for urban settings since it’s tolerant of drought and pollution. It also puts on a showy fall display.

Suitable zones for planting: 5-8

Mature height: up to 80-feet

Drawbacks: Sensitive to frost when young.

29. Green Ash

A hardy tree often used in place of disease-prone American elms.

Suitable zones for planting: 2-9

Mature height: up to 60-feet

Drawbacks: Emerald ash borer poses a continual problem for the green ash tree.

30. Weeping Willow

The weeping willow is native to China and is one of my favorite trees. The unique looking tree is simple to grow and adds an aura of majesty wherever it’s planted. It’s an excellent shade provider and thrives near water. Despite all this, it’s not without its problems.

Suitable zones for planting: 6-8

Mature height: up to 40-feet

Drawbacks: The tree drops a fair amount of debris and has a relatively short lifespan. It’s an enormous tree and has an aggressive root system, meaning it’s not suitable for most average sized properties.

31. Cherry Laurel

The shrub is native to parts of Asia and Europe and is a fast-growing, hardy variety.

Suitable zones for planting: 7-10

Mature height: up to 30-feet

Drawbacks: Has poisonous berries and may be invasive in some areas.

32. Lombardy Poplar

Lombardy poplars have a tall, slender growing habit. Grown in a row, they offer privacy and blockage from the wind.

Suitable zones for planting: 3-9

Mature height: up to 60-feet

Drawbacks: Difficult to remove, short-lived, and disease-prone.

Ready to choose and plant your new fast-growing trees? Do you have a favorite from this list, or are you growing any of the above trees on your property? Or perhaps you know of a perfect variety that wasn’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments section below!


Watch the video: All About Japanese Maples. Ask This Old House