Siting a Red Sunset Maple

by wenda
(Columbus, OH)

Red Sunset Maple Placement

Red Sunset Maple Placement

This is a pic of BEFORE I replaced the porch landing; it now extends out around 10' total. I had the Sweet Gum tree pictured removed. The stump was ground 2 years ago. I'm trying to avoid planting right over the old stump.

I'm thinking of planting a Red Sunset maple, or perhaps October Glory since I heard it has less droppings or some other advantage over Red Sunset (??) I know the Autumn Blaze (half silver maple) sounds risky structurally so I vetoed that one.

Anyway, how far away from the house/porch/driveway should I plant this tree? Do I count the "front" of the house being the front edge of the porch which sticks out 10' from the house itself?

I want to get shade onto my front porch landing, which projects about 10' in a little square landing off the front of the house. The house faces kind of north, so the morning sun really beats down on that front landing.

I'm tempted to plant closer to the driveway so I have more chance of getting shade on my landing, but I don't want my driveway to buckle, or get branches overhanging the house and filling up the gutters etc.

Anyway, I gather I shouldn't plant the tree any closer than 8' from the driveway. 10' is probably good.

Love your site. I took a landscape design class at Harvard. Many thanks and kind regards!!!!


Hi Wenda,
Sorry for the delay in my response but I was away and just returned today.

I usually use October Glory. Red Sunset is a nice choice also, but it gets larger. I would place it 10 feet away from the outermost section of your new porch and also 10 feet away from the driveway. This way you can place it in a bed of 4' diameter, and still have 8 feet of grass between your driveway and porch. I hope that is clear.

October Glory will get to be about 25 to 35 feet wide. This means if it is set 10 feet away from your porch it will be 20 feet away from the main part of your house. Perfect! Half the canopy...let's take an average canopy of 30 feet...will be 15 feet overhang towards the house and will cover the porch for shade.

Good luck! That's one of my favorite trees. The fall color is amazing!


That tree

Comments for Siting a Red Sunset Maple

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Apr 10, 2013
Tree siting
by: Anonymous

Well, I have finally purchased a tree for this site, an Elizabeth Magnolia.

I am very confused how big the tree might get, though. Some sources say 8-10' wide in ten years. Others say 15-30 ft (no time period given).

How far should I plant it from the edge of the landing? The landing pictured here was replaced with one that extends 8-10 feet from the house.

I would not put the tree closer than 6-8 feet from the driveway in case the roots cracked the driveway.

Thanks for any info!

Feb 27, 2013
Siting a Red Sunset Maple
by: Anonymous

Hi Susan, thanks for the info.

The River Birch might be good because it can be limbed up, still provide some shade, but not require a lot of raking.

How far from the edge of the concrete landing and asphalt driveway would you put it?

Same for the magnolias - how far away from the edge of the landing/driveway to plant? Is there a general rule of thumb, like, a tree gets 25 feet wide (in its lifetime, which could be longer than mine!) so you divide that in half and then knock off a few feet, thus planting it 10 feet from the edge of anything?

That still seems a bit far if I want shade on the landing though.

I like the yellow magnolias. There are so many magnolias!


Dec 21, 2012
Small Tree Recommendations
by: Susan

Hi Wenda,
It sounds like you would prefer a smaller tree. Here are two that you might consider. I have pages on my site about them.

Star Magnolia - There are different kinds you could choose. Magnolia 'Jane' has pink flowers, while most of the others produce white flowers. Typically none of them get that large but will still provide shade.

River Birch - This does get quite tall, but what I like about it is that it is not that dense and you can limb up the branches at the bottom.

Also, take a look at my newest ebook Trees for Landscaping


Nov 07, 2012
other porch tree?
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for the info on October Glory!

I've since dimmed somewhat on the maples since I'm not sure I want that big of a tree and whether my other plantings will get enough sun etc.

Can you think of a smaller tree, with an "umbrella" sort of shape, that I could plant closer to the porch foundation for shade on the porch? I've considered mimosa (invasive); gingko (slow growing?); acacia -those trees that ants love, African-looking, has seed pods too; cherry (canopy too low); redbud (too sparse, wouldn't give much shade, and also gets quite large in full sun?), palo verde... native of Arizona and I'm in Ohio?; cutleaf Japanese maple (too short); katsumi...(?) ....

Maybe the advantage with Oct Glory is that I can just prune it to make the right canopy.

Thanks for any additional guidance.

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