Plant Encyclopedia

Matador™ Maple

Acer x freemanii 'Bailston'

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Matador™ Maple tree planted in a lawn

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Selected for its superior habit and fall color, Matador™ Maple turns deeper red than Autumn Blaze® and colors more consistently than Sienna Glen®. An adaptable tree with an upright, symmetrical form, Matador™ gains its fall color a bit later than other cultivars and holds its leaves longer. It is an excellent choice for a lawn, street, or park. Discovered by Kevin Johnston and introduced by Bailey Nurseries.

Plant Attributes

Matador™ Maple, scientifically known as Acer x freemanii 'Bailston' is a captivating deciduous tree renowned for its striking attributes and exceptional performance. This hybrid maple variety is the result of crossing red maple (Acer rubrum) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum), combining the best qualities of both species. Matador™ Maple showcases a magnificent display of colors throughout the year, making it a popular choice for landscapes and urban environments.

One of the most notable attributes of the Matador™ Maple is its vibrant autumn foliage. As the seasons transition from summer to fall, the leaves undergo a remarkable transformation, turning from deep green to brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold. The fiery hues create a breathtaking spectacle, bringing warmth and charm to any landscape. The tree's medium to large size contributes to its visual impact, as it typically reaches a height of 40 to 45 feet and spreads 20 to 40 feet wide, forming an appealing rounded crown.

In addition to its stunning fall colors, the Matador™ Maple exhibits attractive features during other seasons as well. In spring, the tree produces clusters of small red flowers, which give way to distinctive winged samaras, commonly known as maple keys or helicopters. These samaras, coupled with the tree's lustrous green foliage, create a delightful sight. During the summer, the dense canopy provides ample shade, making it a suitable choice for outdoor recreational areas or as an avenue tree.

Matador™ Maple is a hardy and adaptable tree that thrives in a wide range of growing conditions. It prefers full sun exposure but can tolerate partial shade. The tree exhibits a moderate growth rate, adding around 1 to 2 feet of height annually. It is relatively low-maintenance, requiring minimal pruning and being tolerant of various soil types, including clay, loam, and sand. Its tolerance to urban pollution and its adaptability to different soil conditions make it a popular choice for urban landscapes, parks, and residential gardens.

Overall, the Matador™ Maple's combination of captivating fall colors, appealing form, and adaptability make it an excellent choice for those seeking a striking and low-maintenance tree to enhance their landscape. Whether planted as a focal point, shade provider, or to add vibrant seasonal interest, the Matador™ Maple is sure to captivate and impress with its stunning attributes throughout the year.

Landscape Use

The Matador™ Maple is a versatile tree that offers several landscaping uses, making it a popular choice for various settings. Here are some of the plant landscaping uses of the Matador™ Maple:

  1. Focal Point: With its impressive size, beautiful foliage, and attractive form, the Matador™ Maple makes an excellent focal point in a landscape design. Its vibrant fall colors draw attention and can serve as a centerpiece, creating visual interest and adding a touch of elegance to the surroundings.
  2. Shade Provider: The dense canopy of the Matador™ Maple offers abundant shade, making it an ideal choice for creating shaded areas in landscapes and outdoor spaces. Planting it strategically near patios, seating areas, or picnic spots can provide relief from the sun during hot summer months and enhance the comfort and usability of the space.
  3. Avenue Tree: The Matador™ Maple's medium to large size and rounded crown make it suitable for planting along roadsides, streets, or driveways as an avenue tree. Its attractive foliage and vibrant fall colors add beauty and create a visually appealing corridor, enhancing the overall aesthetics of the area.
  4. Urban Landscapes: The Matador™ Maple is well-suited for urban environments due to its tolerance to pollution and adaptability to various soil conditions. It can be used in parks, gardens, and other urban landscapes to add color, provide shade, and contribute to the overall greening of the area.
  5. Windbreak or Privacy Screen: The Matador™ Maple, when planted in a row or group, can serve as an effective windbreak or privacy screen. The dense foliage acts as a barrier, reducing wind velocity and providing privacy from neighboring properties or roads.
  6. Wildlife Habitat: The Matador™ Maple attracts various forms of wildlife, including birds and squirrels, with its flowers, seeds, and foliage. It can be incorporated into wildlife gardens or naturalized areas to create a habitat and support biodiversity.
  7. Mixed Plantings: The Matador™ Maple can be combined with other plants and shrubs to create visually appealing mixed plantings. Its striking fall colors can be complemented by plants with contrasting foliage, textures, or bloom times, adding depth and interest to the landscape design.

These are just a few of the many landscaping uses of the Matador™ Maple. Its versatility, aesthetic appeal, and adaptability make it a valuable addition to a wide range of landscape designs, from residential gardens to public parks and commercial properties.

Planting & Care

When planting and caring for a Matador™ Maple, it's important to follow a few guidelines to ensure its healthy growth and longevity. Here is some planting and care information for the Matador™ Maple:

  1. Planting Location: Choose a planting location that provides full sun to partial shade. The Matador™ Maple prefers well-drained soil but can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sand.
  2. Planting Time: The ideal time to plant a Matador™ Maple is in early spring or fall when the tree is dormant. This allows it to establish its root system before facing harsh weather conditions.
  3. Digging the Hole: Dig a planting hole that is two to three times wider than the tree's root ball and slightly shallower than its depth. This will allow the roots to spread out comfortably.
  4. Soil Preparation: Amend the soil in the planting hole with organic matter, such as compost, to improve drainage and nutrient content. This helps create a favorable environment for root development.
  5. Planting the Tree: Place the Matador™ Maple in the center of the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the ground level. Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the roots to eliminate air pockets.
  6. Watering: After planting, thoroughly water the tree to settle the soil and ensure good root-to-soil contact. Water regularly during the first year to promote establishment, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  7. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or bark, around the base of the tree. This helps conserve soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and regulates soil temperature. Avoid piling mulch against the trunk to prevent moisture retention and potential rot.
  8. Pruning: The Matador™ Maple generally requires minimal pruning. However, remove any damaged or crossing branches to maintain a healthy structure. Pruning is best done during the dormant season to minimize stress on the tree.
  9. Fertilization: A balanced slow-release fertilizer can be applied in early spring to provide essential nutrients. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for dosage and application method. Avoid excessive fertilization, as it can lead to weak growth or susceptibility to diseases.
  10. Pest and Disease Management: Monitor the tree regularly for common pests such as aphids or scale insects. Treat any infestations promptly using appropriate insecticides. Ensure good air circulation around the tree and proper sanitation to minimize the risk of fungal diseases.
  11. Watering and Drought Tolerance: Once established, the Matador™ Maple is relatively drought tolerant. However, it's beneficial to water during prolonged dry spells to maintain its health and vigor. Water deeply and less frequently rather than shallow and frequent watering.

By following these planting and care instructions, you can help the Matador™ Maple thrive and showcase its stunning attributes in your landscape for years to come.

Additional Information

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Matador™ Maple


Plant Features

  • Height: 40-45'
  • Width: 20-40'
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-7
  • Heat Zone: 7
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Habit: Upright Oval
  • Foliage: Bright Green
  • Fall Foliage: Dark Red

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