October Glory trees are red maple (Acer rubrum) cultivars. They are one of the most popular varieties of red maple in cultivation, according to the University of Florida, and growers value them for their showy red or orange autumn foliage as well as their rapid growth. They work well as shade trees, screens or specimens, as well as on highway medians or as street trees.
October Glory maple trees grow between 40 and 50 feet tall with a 25- to 30-foot spread. They have single trunks with grayish-brown bark, rounded or oval-shaped crowns and three-lobed opposite leaves that change from medium or dark green in the spring and summer to brilliant red or reddish-orange in the fall. They yield showy reddish flowers in the spring. Dry red fruit pods called samaras replace the blossoms.
October Glory red maple trees are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5a through 8b. October Glory trees are less cold-hardy than many other red maple cultivars, and they grow best in areas with warm summers and temperate winters. They prefer full sunlight or partial shade and thrive in acidic soil. They transplant easily and grow in a variety of soil types ranging from clay to loam or sand. They can tolerate soggy or occasionally flooded soil, but have a limited tolerance for drought.
Several red maple cultivars include Franksred, a variety that grows between 45 and 50 feet tall and provides better cold-hardiness and earlier fall foliage than October Glory, and Autumn Flame, which grows around 45 feet tall and yields attractive fall color. Mature Red Sunset trees are around 50 feet tall and grow well in warm Southern climates, while Gerling has a pyramidal form and grows to around 35 feet. Some grafted cultivars tend to break apart and you should purchase cultivars that are grown using their own root systems.
October Glory and other red maples are susceptible to verticillium wilt, a fungal disease that attacks the roots. A gummy substance clogs up the water transport system, causing yellowed foliage, branch dieback and tree death. A fungal infection called tar spot creates black spots on the foliage. Trees may suffer from manganese deficiencies, resulting in greenish-yellow leaves. Borer insects feed below the bark, while scale insects and aphids feed on tree sap.