I planted an October Maple in an area between my house and a bungalow. It is about 4 meters (13 feet) from each of the house, bungalow and fence. I believe these trees have a radius of about 4 meters (13 feet), so possibly I made a mistake. Is there a way to keep this type of tree ‘small’. I would like it to always be a max width of 5 meters (16 feet) across and a max height of 6 meters (19 feet) up.

  • Welcome to the site! Would you please post a few pictures? It would be great to see a view of the whole area, and a closer one of the tree itself. Thanks! Nov 6, 2017 at 0:12

2 Answers 2


I have to disagree with Bamboo. Her information is spot on but 4 meters (grins, that is what about 12 feet, right)? from both buildings and a fence. I think that distance is ideal. Yes, roots grow a bit further than the canopy of the tree but this particular tree has been found to have roots that are less invasive than most maples. The roots may cause problems with mowing but a defined tree circle will negate that becoming a problem. You should definitely have a circle around the base of the trunk as the vascular system is easily nicked by mowers and string trimmers.

This is one heck of a beautiful tree. I wouldn't try messing with its natural form which is a big oval. Almost a columnar tree only fatter. Its height in a big park would be 35 to 50 feet. In a residential setting that height will be no more than 30 or 35 feet.

Pruning your tree will be important to direct its growth and get rid of weakly attached branches. Thinning your tree so if you have room for air to go through the tree without pulling it over. To top it in an effort to shorten by removing the leader would give you a bush on a stick, ugh.

For instance on of the most important pruning tasks is to look at the angle between a branch and the main branch or even the trunk. If that angle is 90 degrees that is the strongest attachment. Oaks have this type of angle. Less than 45 degrees is a weaker attachment. That is the normal angle for this maple. Pruning would entail cutting off branches where the angle is decidedly narrower than 20 degrees. These numbers are just for reference. We could easily go through pruning from a few pictures. This will not only thin but remove branches that could be a problem in the future. The other task is to make sure there are no encircling roots...

I've found a great informational site about your tree I am posting with this answer. When did you plant this tree? The most important thing we need to discuss is how you planted this tree. Was it balled and burlapped or did it come in a big pot? Did you check for encircling roots? This tree has a propensity for encircling roots which could make for a weak tree that could also be killed sooner than later. Did you remove the burlap? Any and all twine and tags? Again, need to know how long ago you planted your tree. Did you stake it? If you did we will talk about removing the stake as this makes for a weak trunk and root system. If this was a bare root tree, then staking would be good for a short time.

Sounds to me as if this spot you've chosen could be perfect and this might be the perfect tree for that spot. But without seeing the spot, the environment and your tree I am not giving an assured answer, okay?

If people followed the rule Bamboo is telling you there would be no trees in the city! She is correct, however. But think of the street trees only 2 meters away from the buildings...and this tree is a huge favorite for street trees. They have those shallow roots near the base of the trunk but rarely does one see that as a problem with this brand of tree and side walks either.

This is a fast growing tree that unlike most fast growing trees has very strong wood. The fall color is perhaps one of the most spectacular of the maples. Few insect problems, the only disease to worry about is verticillium wilt but being a solitary tree the likelihood is nil. Remember there are streets lined with these trees for a reason. Cities normally care about replacement, broken sidewalks or branches falling on people.

We could help you with making this decision better if you would send a picture of the tree, the environment, the trunk and ground...if you dug too deeply while digging the hole meaning dug deeper than the height of the rootball we need to talk about that. Anything at all about what you remember digging and planting this tree please walk us through. Just the root ball should be underground. If there is any soil on the trunk or if there is a chance the tree will sink into disturbed soil, we need to talk.

Otherwise, if you wanted a big beautiful tree for that space, I can't think of a better choice. Still need to see the space, your tree and how it was planted. This tree might be in its forever home! But while it is young, now is the time to make decisions.
October Glory Maple information) More on October Glory Maple

I finally found someone who said their tree is now 30 feet after 17 years. What kind of soil do you have? A pH test would be very good. Most information says this tree can handle all soils except alkaline (high pH over 7.0).

  • 2
    As to pH - Red Maples in general die a fairly quick, painful death with any pH over 7.0. I killed a Brandywine (much smaller than an October Glory) due to 7.6 pH.
    – Jurp
    Nov 4, 2017 at 22:36
  • @Jurp This made me smile...'painful' for you for sure! I had no idea about the pH for Red Maples, I always learn something new along with the OP answering questions.
    – stormy
    Nov 5, 2017 at 20:24

From an internet search, it appears 'October glory maple' is a name for Acer rubrum 'October Glory'; this is a large tree, ultimately reaching over 12 metres with a spread of wider than 8 metres. I would not recommend leaving it in situ - trying to keep it in check will be a permanent struggle, and the biggest risk is from root spread, which could easily be twice the width of the crown. At 8 to 16 metres, that's a lot of roots which are likely to interfere with both the house and the bungalow foundations.

Probably best to remove it and choose something else to plant; it may not be possible to find a tree small enough because of the risk of damage from the roots, depending on the exact distance from the house and bungalow. As a rough guide, any tree should always be a minimum of 12 metres away from any structure with foundations, more for larger trees.

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