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Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala): Facts, Uses, Pests, and Diseases

Livingsta is a writer who focuses on anything that fascinates, provokes or interests her. She always puts forth her best efforts and focus.

Amur Maple Trees

Being an invasive species, Amur maples are tolerant to pests and most diseases. They are sometimes vulnerable to these dangers, however, and have to be monitored closely.

We will look into details of the different pests that can affect the Amur maple, the different diseases that they are prone to, and the actions that need to be taken to prevent the plant from dying. In addition to these, we will also be looking into the various uses of the Amur maple, the different cultivars, some interesting facts, and also different styles (mainly bonsai) in which these maples can be grown.

If you wish to read in detail about how to grow the Amur maple (acer ginnala)—also known as the crimson-leaved maple or the Siberian maple—this article provides detailed steps and very useful information.

Before getting into the details in this article, however, I have listed the explanation of a few terms that are used.

Explanation of Terms Used

  • Deciduous: plants shedding foliage at the end of the growing season
  • Iron chlorosis: Iron deficiency
  • Cultivars: a variety of plant developed from a natural species
  • Stump: base part of a tree
  • Samaras: winged one-seeded indehiscent fruit
  • Indehiscent: doesn’t open spontaneously at maturity to release seeds
  • Acidic: having an excess of hydrogen atoms (having a pH of less than 7)
  • Alkaline soil: clay soils with high pH, poor soil structure and a low infiltration capacity
  • Xeriscaping: landscaping designed for dry conditions to conserve water
  • Astringent: a drug that causes contraction of body tissues and canals
  • Herbicides: a chemical agent that destroys plants or inhibits their growth

Pests and Other Problems That Affect the Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala)

  • Mostly, Amur maples are free from pests. They are sometimes damaged by the Yellow-bellied sap-sucker (Sphyrapicus varius) and this can be confirmed if there are holes in the tree trunk.
  • Other pests that affect the Amur maple are aphids that can cause leaf drop. Other symptoms of aphid infestation can be honeydew underneath the leaf or on objects beneath the tree. Aphids can be brought under control by spraying, but other predatory insects usually bring the population of the aphids under control.
  • Another pest on the Amur maple are scales like horse chestnut scales. The most common scales are the cottony maple scale that forms cottony masses on the lower sides of branches. These can be controlled or eliminated by spraying with horticultural sprays during the early spring season to prevent them from growing.
  • Borers are another pest that indicates that the tree is not healthy. These pests are difficult to control. The type of borer infecting the tree has to be identified and proper insecticides for that particular borer have to be sprayed at a very early stage.
  • Twospotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) are another type of pests that affect the Amur maple.
  • Amur maple are also sensitive to phenoxy herbicides.

Diseases That the Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala) Can Be Prone To

  • They are prone to bacterial diseases like Crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens) and also prone to fungal diseases like Anthracnose, Phytophthora Canker, Basal Rot, & Root Rot, Verticillium Wilt, giant tar spot (Rhytisma acerinum), leaf spots, iron chlorosis and Wood Rots and Decays.
  • Maple Anthracnose is caused by a certain type of fungi (for example K. apocrypta). This disease causes sunken spots or scorch during late spring or early summer and severe infection may lead to defoliation. This can be serious during rainy seasons and sometimes masses of fungus can be found on the lower surface of the leaves. This can be avoided by destroying the diseased parts of the plant at an early stage of infection or by applying fungicides or by controlling the insects that spread the fungus to other plants or different parts of the same plant.
  • Phytophthora Canker is caused by Phytophthora, which is a fungus that causes bleeding canker in maple and many other trees. They disrupt water transport within the plant. The symptoms of this infection are early fall color or pale green leaves, reduced size of leaves and shoots and bleeding of a reddish-brown colored liquid from the stems. The Phytophthora fungus lives in the soil. This can be controlled at an early stage by removing infected branches. Diseased large branches and trunks may be scraped to remove the outer bark to reveal the infection and exposure to dry conditions can cause the infection to dry out. Small infections on the trunks can be removed by cutting off the dead barks.
  • Verticillium wilt is a disease where the branches of the tree wilt or die. Very rarely the infected sapwood will be stained dark or olive green in color. If the infection is severe, the tree cannot be saved, however, if the infection is in the early stages, pruning the infected branches and fertilizing the tree can help to save the tree if the tree will outgrow the infections.
  • Scorch as the name indicates, occurs during very high temperatures accompanied by wind. The reasons for this disease are not enough water or diseased roots. Scorch due to dry soil or not enough water can be treated by watering the tree, whereas scorching due to diseased root cannot be cured this way. Symptoms of scorch are brown dead areas between veins in the leaf.
  • Tar spot and other leaf spots are other concerns with the Amur maple, but they are not serious diseases.
  • Iron chlorosis develops as a result of iron deficiency when the plants grow in alkaline soils or poorly drained soils.
Yellow-bellied sapsucker

Yellow-bellied sapsucker

How to Protect the Amur Maple From Pests and Diseases

  • For the Yellow-bellied sapsucker, you can use woodpecker deterrent methods to avoid them from making holes on the tree trunk, thereby maintaining a healthy trunk for the tree.
  • Visual deterrents like aluminum foils or tapes, balloons with the face of an owl, noisy tins, or anything that is shiny and noisy, will keep pests at bay.
  • Auditory deterrents such as devices that create a noise (similar to their predators) when they sense any movements will also be effective.
  • Use nets to cover the branches with hardware cloth. Enough space has to be left between the branch and the cover so that the woodpecker does not peck through the covering.
  • Sprays that are made from non-toxic chemicals or that can be sprayed on the land around the tree can create an odor that the woodpeckers do not like and hence will deter them.
  • Woodpecker deterrent hole fillers are used to fill the pecked holes and when the woodpecker pecks on them, they create a foul taste and odor which will deter the woodpecker.
  • Adding bird reflective objects is another tactic to frighten the woodpeckers.
  • Aphids, scales, and borers can be controlled by spraying them with insecticides or horticultural sprays, whichever is relevant to keep them under control or eliminate them.
  • Diseases that occur in the Amur maple can be controlled or avoided by proper pruning, looking after the health of the tree, watering the tree well, and by providing proper fertilizers.

Uses of Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala)

Here's a look at some of the different kinds of uses for this wonderful plant.

Ornamental Uses

  • They are used as ornamental plants/trees in northern parts of Europe and North America in patios and parks for their brilliant foliage and fruits/seeds in Autumn season.
  • Due to their short and smaller size, they can be used as an excellent privacy screen on decks and patios and they fit into almost any landscape.
  • They can be used as parkland trees or in public gardens or on highways for their beautiful foliage.
  • They can also be pruned and used in hedges.
  • They can be used as tree lawns or as a specimen tree.
  • They can be used in streets that lack a sidewalk.
  • They make good bonsais and are suitable for xeriscaping.

Medicinal and Culinary Uses

  • Their extracts have astringent properties and are used in cancer research.
  • The young leaves of the Amur maple have been used as a tea substitute.
  • The dried leaves of the Acer ginnala are used to prepare black, blue and brown dyes. These dyes contain quercetin (a dye stuff) and around 30% of tannin.

Agroforestry Products

  • They are used for their sugary sap.
  • The leaves are used while packaging apples and other root crops to help keep them fresh.
  • Used as tree strips for windbreaks, using these as windbreaks help to handle the impact of winter storms.
  • Planted to protect livestock, enhance production and prevent soil erosion.
Riparian zone

Riparian zone

Other Uses

  • They are used in various conservation methods and as windbreaks in farms that have buildings near them.
  • Used as riparian plantings—these are vegetated areas next to water resources that protect water resources from pollution and provide bank stabilization. They also provide space for aquatic and wildlife habitats.
  • The leaves are eaten by deer and rabbits and the seeds are eaten by squirrels.
  • They provide a home or cover for songbirds.
Location of the Amur river

Location of the Amur river

Facts About the Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala)

  • The name of the tree comes from the Amur river in the Amur valley that divides China and Russia.
  • The Amur maple has gained the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK.
  • They are best known for their vibrant fall colors.
  • They are commonly sold under the name Amur maple but are sometimes sold as Siberian Maple.
  • They are an invasive species that are non-native, but naturalized in parts of North America. The invasive nature depends on the area or region where they grow.
  • The beauty of the fall colors of the leaves depends on the amount of sunlight the tree gets and soil conditions. Brilliant colors are portrayed if it gets full sunlight and healthy soil.
  • They are drought and wind-resistant.
  • Their growth is slow and they remain small when mature and hence can be planted below or close to power lines on the streets.
  • Extracts of Acer species have been found to be toxic to pests like insects.
  • This species of maple is found as a suitable one for bonsai in countries like Japan and others.
  • The Amur maples were introduced in North America in the 1860s.
  • They thrive well in colder climates up to -38 degrees Celsius and live for around 20 to 30 years or even more till 50 years if they are in healthy soil and environment.
  • They are not toxic to livestock or other plants and trees.
  • It requires a minimum of 130 frost-free days a year.
  • These invasive species are sold in the markets while many others spend time and money removing them, as they ruin native wildflowers and wildlife habitats.
  • They can be injured by weed-killers like plant growth regulators.
  • Amur maples have fragrant flowers.

Different Cultivars or Varieties of the Amur Maple

They have different cultivars like:

  • Flame Amur Maple: Acer ginnala ” Flame”
  • Embers Amur Maple: Acer ginnala “Embers” that have red leaves and red fruits (samaras)
  • Redwing Amur Maple: Acer ginnala ‘Red wing’ or “Red fruit” that has yellow or red leaves with red fruits (samaras)
  • Compact Amur Maple: Acer ginnala “Compactum” or Acer ginnala “Bailey compact” has compact, dark green leaves and a round crown without the need for pruning. This is a pest-free cultivar of a smaller size
  • "Durand’s dwarf": is a shrub type plant with branches denser than compactum

Threats From the Amur Maple and How to Control Them

  • Due to its invasive nature, it can inhibit growth or displace native shrubs and understory trees in the open woods.
  • It can shade out native grasses and herbs in the savanna habitat.
  • It is an abundant seed producer and re-sprouts easily from a cut stump.
  • They can be controlled by burning them but cannot be eliminated.
  • Small infestations of the Amur maple can be removed easily.
  • Cut stumps of the Amur maple can be treated with glyphosate or, bark spray treatment around the stem with triclopyr can help to kill the plant or tree.

Amur Maple Can Be Used for Different Styles of Planting

Most of these styles are preferable for bonsai.

  • Formal upright: the plant stands upright without slanting and with a tapering trunk
  • Informal upright: the plant is upright with the apex of the plant above the base, but still grows upwards with twists or curves in the branches
  • Slanting: the plant is in a slanting position in upright style, with the apex of the tree to the left or right of the base
  • Cascade: the plant has branches that fall down like a cascade with the apex of the tree falling below the base of the pot
  • Semi-cascade: part of the plant has a cascaded style and part of them an informal upright style
  • Root-over-rock: the roots of the plant are over a rock, clasping the rock
  • Clinging to rock: the roots of the plant are close to the small rocks in the pot following the contours of the rocks.
  • Twin trunk: there are two trunks emerging from the base of the plant or tree
  • Group planting: group of plants or trees planted together
  • Saikei: miniature landscapes with bonsai

Share Your Experiences

I would appreciate your thoughts, ideas, experiences, knowledge, and feedback on this article. The information provided here was put together after thorough research through various sources. This is not advice from an expert, but general information on how to grow the Amur maple trees. Please offer feedback on any errors.

I hope you found this article useful and interesting. Thank you for reading. I would like to hear from you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Ronald Scott on May 25, 2019:

I planted 6 Amur Maple FLAME on the SE corner of our property in 1979 . They are a bit lanky and have been neglected for a good 5 years and are about to undergo a major spruce up . Uninformed neighbors at the property line planted the worst of INVASIVE maples ; the silver maple near to our Amurs and brought shade suffocation to our plant of choice .The Silvers have been injected with Garlon P and we are ready to enjoy the beauty of the Amurs AGAIN !

Mark on October 21, 2018:

Has anyone every had a rash from the Amur maple tree sap?

Irina on March 31, 2017:

Thank you for this info. I was looking for a proper size, colorful foliage, and easy maintenance tree to plant on the front yard of my house. I would've liked though to find a better way for printing out this article and having it on paper as reference when I need it.

Pat Matson on November 07, 2016:

I have 3 Amur Maples I started from seeds. They're about 2 inches tall. I live in Calif, but in Zone 8 in the mountains above San Bernardino. It snows up here a lot. Can you advise me of the best way to winter over these seedlings please?

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 04, 2016:

Hello vasantha T k, thank you so much for reading. I am glad that you found this hub interesting. Thank you for your votes. Sorry for the late response. Have a great 2016!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 04, 2016:

Hello Vellur, hope you are well. So sorry for the late response on this. I am glad that you found this hub interesting and informative. Thank you for passing by and your votes. Have a great 2016.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 04, 2016:

Hello poetryman6969, thank you so much for reading and your feedback. Have an awesome 2016! Sorry for the late response.

vasantha T k on June 03, 2015:

Interesting information shared Voted up!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 01, 2015:

Interesting and informative facts about the Amur Maple. Great hub, clearly presented with terms explained. Voted up.

poetryman6969 on March 10, 2015:

With the level of detail you bring to the subject, surely the insects don't have a chance!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 07, 2013:

Hi Dharminderkumar, thank you for stopping by. I am glad that you found this useful! Have a good weekend!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 05, 2013:

Hi Ignugent17, thank you. I am glad that you found this useful. Have a good day :-)

ignugent17 on June 04, 2013:

Amur maple is new to me. Thanks for the information. :-)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on June 02, 2013:

Hi Rajan, thank you. I am glad that you like this. Thank you for the votes and share. Hope you had a good weekend. Have a great week ahead :-)

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 02, 2013:

A very comprehensive hub on all aspects of this magnificent tree, amur maple. Excellent research and write.

voted up, useful and shared.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 31, 2013:

Hi midget38, thank you. I am glad that you found this interesting. Thank you for sharing. Have a good day!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on May 30, 2013:

Livingsta, you really know your botany. And pests can really be a hindrance to gardening! Sharing!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 30, 2013:

Hi Mr-Veg, thank you so much. I am glad that you found this interesting. Hope you had a good week :-)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 30, 2013:

Hi Nell, thank you for reading. I am glad that you found this useful. Hope you are well and had a good week :-)

Thank you for the votes and shares.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 30, 2013:

Hi Joe, thank you for reading. I am glad that you found this interesting.

Rainy Washington!! You made me laugh. It's been raining here nonstop too! Reminds me of the "Year without a Summer" I hope that we all get the sunshine and warmer days soon. Sending you blessings and smiles Joe.

Hope you had a good week!

Dahlia :-)

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 30, 2013:

Hi kidscrafts, thank you for your visit :-)

I can imagine those brilliant fall colours that you have mentioned here. I love fall for those beautiful colours.

Yes the bonsai that I went through, they were so tempting. It can be difficult at first I guess and I have always wanted to grow bonsai, but have been an utter failure :-)

I am glad that you enjoyed reading this hub. Hope you had a good week!

mr-veg from Colorado United States on May 29, 2013:

wow that's some information out here... I learnt nice facts today...thanks for getting it out Livingsta...

Nell Rose from England on May 29, 2013:

Another great hub livingsta, and so well explained. all your information is really useful, and I love the layout too, voted up and shared! nell

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on May 29, 2013:

Hi, Dahlia!

What a beautiful tree this amur maple is! I am ever amazed at how many awesome plants and trees in Hawai'i as well as my current state of Washington had their origin in your mystic and beautiful country. Thank you for sharing this well-researched and excellently written article. Aloha from a rainy Washington state!


kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on May 29, 2013:

Excellent hub, Livingsta! Quite a few pests and diseases can attack those trees!

When I looked at your pictures, I think I saw some Acer Ginnala last year when I was coming back from the North of Ontario. It was in late afternoon in the fall, with the sun going down on those trees. The colours were just stunning!

Bonsais are fascinating. It's a science to know how to cut them, water them, etc. I had one of my sons who wanted to start growing bonsais.... he killed his first one.... and that was it :-)

Thank you for sharing your excellent research, Livingsta!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 29, 2013:

Hi My Cook Book, thank you. I am pleased that you found this information useful. Have a good day!

Dil Vil from India on May 28, 2013:

Excellent hub, very well written. I appreciate your effort in making this very useful and highly informative hub. Great work!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on May 28, 2013:

Hi Mohan, nice to see you! Thank you. It is sometimes exciting to look through what we had studied at school, isn't it? Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this and for the feedback. Hope you are well!

Have a good evening.

Mohan Kumar from UK on May 28, 2013:

absolutely awesome hub on the amur maple- I love the way you've outlined the aspects of protecting the species. What more, the glossary of terms brought back reminiscences of my botany lessons... i'm once more fully versed with terms such as deciduous, indehiscent and xeriscaping. Brilliant.