by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
This stunning shade tree thrives in severe garden conditions without skipping a beat. A member of the Maple tree family is a native selection, so you know it will do well! Faster growing, the spring leaves erupt with soft copper-red, that quickly mature to a refreshing green with just a hint of copper undertones for the summer. Fall it unleashes a brilliant display of classic red leaves. Where this tree really shines is in areas that have challenging conditions. Once it is established, it is super drought tolerant. The perfect tree to line a long driveway or the picture-perfect patio shade tree.
Box elders, also known as Manitoba Maples, have always been considered sturdy trees for harsh climates. Sensation is no exception, having earned a USDA Zone 4b hardiness rating in our Reference Guide.
The seedless nature of this male clone makes it less attractive to box elder bugs. This pesky but harmless insect feeds on the flowers of female trees and takes refuge in houses in the fall. A more mannerly growth habit and improved branch structure result in a tough and adaptable tree that is less susceptible to storm damage than the species.
During 30 years under average urban growing conditions, Sensation is estimated to grow in a rounded shape to a height of approximately 30 feet and spread of 25 feet.
It is an excellent landscape tree and casts beautiful shade. It’s nicely sized for a garden bed or border. Where this tree really shines is in areas that have challenging climates. It hardy to zone 4 (-40 degrees and more), and it is water-wise too.
It is super easy to care for and thrives in sun or part shade. Several lining a long drive are picture-perfect in any season.
Growing Zones 4-8
Botanical Name – Acer negundo ‘Sensation.’
Mature Height – 30 feet
Mature Spread – 20 feet
Sun Exposure – Full Sun, Partial Shade
Soil Type – Any well-drained soil, and tolerates high pH
Moisture – Water to establish, and as needed when dry
Growth Rate – Fast
Flower Color – Greenish white
Foliage – Deciduous
Foliage Color – Bronzy ages to green
Fall Color – Bright Red
Five to seven lobed pinnate leaves are a mid-green with a pinkish/apricot tinge in spring and summer, turning to red, orange, and yellow tones in autumn. Fallen leaves quickly disintegrate and rarely require cleaning up.
Great for shaded and part shaded hedges and screens, containers, general garden planting, and espaliers. For a hedge/screen plant 3 feet apart.