University of Florida

Acer buergerianum 'Streetwise' (Trident Maple)

Trident Maple

*Click on picture for more images of this species.

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4B - 9B
  • Mature Height: 30 to 45 ft
  • Mature Spread: 25 to 40 ft
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Availability: Somewhat available
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate
  • Salt Tolerance: Moderate
  • Light Requirements: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Drainage: Needs a well-drained site
  • Native Origin: Not native to North America. Invasive potential not assessed.
  • Foliage: Deciduous tree with showy fall color.
  • Flowers: Yellow, showy, non-fragrant flowers in the spring.
  • Pests:Free of serious pests and diseases.

Description: This deciduous, 30 to 45-foot-high by 25- to 40-foot-wide tree has beautiful 3-inch-wide, tri-lobed leaves, glossy green above and paler underneath, which turn various shades of red, orange, and yellow in autumn. Flowers are bright yellow and showy in the spring. Trident Maple naturally exhibits low spreading growth and multiple stems but can be trained to a single trunk and pruned to make it branch higher, allowing passage below its broad, oval to rounded canopy. With its moderate growth rate, attractive orange-brown peeling bark, and easy maintenance, Trident Maple should make a good street tree. Crown form on the species is often variable; Streetwise has a uniform predictably shape.

Trees grown in partial shade can grow much taller (up to 60 feet tall), especially when the crown is touching adjacent trees preventing branches from spreading. This can be at least partially prevented by pruning major lateral branches so they grow no larger than half the diameter of the main trunk. Be sure that there are no weak crotches with inclusions, or double or multiple leaders which could cause the tree to split apart. Specify single-leadered trees when planting along streets or in parking lots or other commercial landscapes.

Trident Maple has not been extensively used as a street tree, probably due to its unavailability, but the cultural requirements, size, and form make it a great candidate. It should also be planted more around residences and commercial landscapes due to its pleasing form and moderate size. Trident Maple should be planted in full sun or partial shade on any well-drained, acid soil and is quite tolerant of salt, air pollution, wind and drought. Like other maples, some chlorosis can develop in soils with pH over 7 but it is moderately tolerant of soil salt. It performs well in urban areas where soils are often poor and compacted. Trees are easily transplanted due to their shallow root system and are fairly `clean' trees since they do not drop messy leaves, fruit or flowers.

Gainesville Observations: Trees were planted from a field nursery and appear to be performing well. Growth is slow in the first year after planting, probably due to transplanting and adjustment to the site. Foliage color is normal.

Fact Sheet (pdf)
Click here for more photos of this tree.