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NDSU professor breeding hardy maple tree for North Dakota

Posted on 6/6/2018

Photo of Todd West
Todd West, NDSU professor of plant sciences, is looking to help create a Freeman maple that will thrive in North Dakota and the Northern Plains region of the U.S.

Freeman maples provide beautiful red leaf color in the fall and are extremely popular across the U.S. However, the trees do not thrive in North Dakota for two major reasons; hardiness and chlorosis.

"Red maples generally become chlorotic because they prefer a lower pH soil than what is found in North Dakota, and also, the parent plants for the popular Freeman maple crosses were selected from a more southern source of the native range, which results in inconsistent hardiness issues around the state," West said.

West recently collected pollen from a silver maple on the main campus at North Dakota State University, which he used to pollinate red maples that are showing outstanding tolerance to high pH soils at the NDSU Absaraka Horticulture Research Farm.

The Skinner maple has an upright habit and is adapted to North Dakota conditions and when potentially added with the fall color of a red maple, it has potential to be an outstanding shade tree for landscapes and boulevards in North Dakota and the Northern Plains.

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