Main Street® Shantung Maple Acer truncatum ‘WF-AT1’

Have you heard of the Main Street® Shangtung maple, (Acer truncatum, ‘WF-AT1’)? I hesitate to explore another maple as most cities are trying to find alternates to avoid over planting them. However, more selections and cultivars keep emerging and they certainly are a proven genus and a favorite throughout the country. The Main Street® maple is a recent selection with favorable urban characteristics introduced by Worthington Farms of Greenville, North Carolina.  Given our ever-shrinking sites for urban tree planting, this smaller scale tree is one to consider.

An interesting comparison is that the Main Street® maple is very much like a smaller version of the Pacific Sunset, (Acer truncatum x A. platanoides ‘Warrenred’) or Norwegian Sunset, (Acer truncatum x A. platanoides ‘Keithsform’) maples, which easily and quickly reach 35 to 40 feet tall and wide. Note: I have personally seen Pacific Sunset maples get wider than they are tall. This assessment of the Main Street maple would include the leaves, twigs, branching and ultimate height and width, all being less in size.

The Main Street maple appears to be a fast grower that does not exceed 25 to 30 feet tall and a bit less in width, making it a utility friendly tree. With the familiar maple leaf shape with pointed lobes, the emerging leaves are reddish purple, turning to green with a reddish edge. The crown is dense with a finer texture than the other maple varieties mentioned. The bark is brown with attractive darker irregular furrows running lengthwise becoming more pronounced as the tree ages.

The fall color appears evenly over the entire crown, including colors of red, orange and sometimes purple. It appears to maintain a good central leader, but as for many maple cultivars, some pruning to suppress potentially competitive lateral branches, will help promote good long-term structure.

As a species, Acer truncatum is known to be tolerate of a wide range of soils and to be drought tolerant. We have found this maple to transplant easily in the nursery, but confirm that it is susceptible to verticillium wilt and anthracnose disease. Avoid planting in areas of a confirmed root disease. Although a smaller maturing tree, I still suspect it would have an aggressive root system, but time will tell. Root barriers are advised if planting within four feet of a curb of sidewalk.

If you are in need of a smaller maturing street, yard or garden tree, then the Main Street® maple could be a good selection to consider. As always, let me know your thoughts and history of this tree.

Article By:

James Barborinas James Barborinas
Urban Forestry Services, Inc. & Urban Forest Nursery, Inc.
Learn more about James Barborinas.