New England Fall Foliage » Foliage Articles » New England’s red flowering trees

Did you wonder what those red flowering trees were in New England?

Mounds of orange leaves

Peak New England fall foliage

Most likely they are Sugar Maples (Acer saccharum) or Red Maples (Acer rubrum). These are two of the most valued trees of leaf peepers the world wide. These two maples account for much of the fall color in the New England fall foliage season and sugar maples account for almost all of the New England maple syrup.

Sugar maple flowers in spring herald the coming of summer leaves and fall foliage

Sugar maple flowers

The telltale red flowers start to show in late March to mid April, depending on the weather. If a warm spring presents itself then the trees will bloom earlier. in mid May to June the tree will generally fill the air with it’s seeds as they spin to the ground. The tree is considered opportunistic in that it can sprout in an area that has little light due to a thick over head canopy.

Of course I love these trees for their fall foliage and their ability to change from year to year. One year a tree maybe golden and the next orange, always giving a surprise to the viewer. The trees need only a few things to start their changing of the colors.

  • Shortening days
  • cold night time temperatures
  • Warm daytime temps
  • One variance is if it has it’s roots in water for the summer, in or near a swampy area and then it’s considered a “swamp maple” and these will turn as early as late July or August.

Red Maples mix the flowers up.

the spring flowers on red maples can be either be a red or soft gold color

Flowers on red maples in red & gold

According to Sibley’s book on trees, red maples can be either a bright red or more of a soft golden color. As you can see here you get a nice pastel of colors in spring just as you get a tapestry of colors in the fall. Just because the name says red maple, that does not mean they will turn red. The fall colors are determined by the general environment. (weather and soil ph being big factors)

Fall foliage colors still remain in Salem MA with reds and oranges As you can see by the last image these trees usually turn various shades of orangy yellows… Not! that I would ever complain. 🙂

I’m happy with pretty much any fall foliage color I find. Considering that these are in my “back yard” I really have no right to say a word except to go out and enjoy their show as the days shorten into winter.


Jeff “Foliage” Folger
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Jeff Foliage

My name is Jeff Folger,
but people call me Jeff Foliage.
I have several pages that I write blogs for such as:
My most popular blog is for Leaf peepers: Jeff
I live in Salem, Massachusetts and work as a blogger and Travel Photographer. I'm also the founder of the New England Photography Guild.
Feel free to visit me on my blogs and see what life in New England is like.

I started with Yankee Magazine as their first blogger on everything fall foliage. Now I blog on my own blog on my favorite subject, telling leaf peepers where the fall foliage is showing up in New England and helping them (to some extent) plan their fall foliage vacations.
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