Amur Maple (Ginnala)

The Amur Maple (Ginnala) is generally described as a perennial tree or shrub. This is not native to the U.S. (United States) and has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The greatest bloom is usually observed in the mid spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until fall. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Amur Maple (Ginnala) has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Amur Maple (Ginnala) will reach up to 20 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 15 feet.

The Amur Maple (Ginnala) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container, seed. It has a slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have low vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -38°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Ethnobotanic: The young leaves were used as a tea substitute (Kunkel 1984). Black, blue, and brown dyes were obtained and dried from the leaves.

Landscaping & Wildlife: The main ornamental value of Amur maple is its red fall color and fruit. This is an excellent, low growing tree for small yards. It is sometimes used for hedges or screens. It has a fair rating for wildlife.

Agroforestry: Acer ginnala is used in tree strips for windbreaks. They are planted and managed to protect livestock, enhance production, and control soil erosion. Windbreaks can help communities with harsh winter conditions better handle the impact of winter storms and reduce home heating costs during the winter months.

General Characteristics

General: Maple family (Aceraceae). Amur maple is an introduced, deciduous large shrub or small tree. It can be grown as a multistemmed clump or trained into a small tree with a single trunk. It can also be sheared into a hedge. The leaves are simple, opposite; eight to ten centimeters long, and coarsely toothed. The fragrant, creamy whit flowers appear with the new foliage in April and May (Dirr 1997). The fruit samaras are 0.75 to 1 inch long, held in small panicles and are red to brown in color. The bark is smooth and gray on young branches and grayish brown on older branches.

Required Growing Conditions

Amur maple is native to Manchuria, north China and Japan and is cultivated in gardens and parks (McMinn & Maino 1951). For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Adaptation Acer ginnala grows best in moist well-drained soil, but can tolerate a wide variety of soils, poor soil fertility, and are pH adaptable. This species displays excellent tolerance to dry and alkaline soils (Dirr 1997). It is reasonably drought tolerant. It will tolerate shade, but develops a better fall color if grown in full sun. Acer ginnala grows best in colder climates with cool summers. It can be grown in hotter areas if care is taken to prevent dehydration.

Cultivation and Care

Propagation from Seed: Pre-soak the stored seed for twenty-four hours and then stratify for one to four months at 1-8ºC. Seeds can be harvested when they are fully developed but before they have dried and produced any germination inhibitors. Sow immediately in a seedbed or open frame. Spring sown seeds may not germinate for another year. Transfer to a nursery bed in the first spring (Heuser 1997). If the seeds are harvested too soon they will produce very weak plants or no plants at all (McMillan 1985).

Propagation from Cuttings: Cuttings of young shoots should be done in June or July. The cuttings should consist of two to three pairs of leaves and one pair of buds on the base. Place cuttings in plastic, bag and seal to prevent moisture loss. They must not be allowed to wilt. Trim the cuttings below the lowest node to remove the lower leaves leaving three or four at the tip. A rooting hormone may be applied to improve rooting before planting. Insert the cuttings in the rooting medium up to half their length so the leaves don’t touch each other. The cuttings should root in two to three weeks, after which they can be potted (Heuser1997).


Introduced into the U.S.

General Upkeep and Control

Containerized trees should not be planted in their permanent position until they are twenty centimeters or taller. Amur maple should be pruned in the winter or early spring to help develop and maintain a good single trunk tree form. Amur maple is usually pest free; however sometimes, spraying is necessary to controls aphids.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Tree, Shrub
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Moderate
Plant Nativity Introduced to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Mid Spring
Displays Fall Colors Yes
Shape/Growth Form Multiple Stem
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intermediate
Height When Mature 20
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color White
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance High
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Fall
Seed Spread Rate Slow
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Seed
Moisture Requirements Medium
Cold Stratification Required Yes
Minimum Temperature -38
Soil Depth for Roots 24
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 6.1–7.5 pH
Precipitation Range 30–30 inches/yr
Planting Density 170–700 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 24
Minimum Frost-Free Days 130 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance Low
CaCO3 Tolerance Medium
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Low
Fire Resistant No

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA