Plant DetailShow Menu

Acer saccharum

Common Name(s):

  • Northern Sugar Maple
  • Sugar Maple
Phonetic Spelling
AY-ser sa-KAR-um
Description

Sugar maple is a fast growing shade tree with striking fall color in the Sapindaceae family.  It is a popular tree in the Eastern U.S. hardwood forest and is one of the trees which is most responsible for giving New England its reputation for spectacular fall color.  It is a vigorous feeder and is very easy to grow.   This tree tolerates heavy shade and can be planted in a lawn.  It is used as a tree where compaction and pollution are not a problem.  Because of its slow growth rate it makes strong wood that is resistant to storm damage.

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves: Fall      Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fall

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems.  Aphids, borers, and scale may be present.  Verticillium wilt, anthracnose, cankers, leaf spot, and tar spot can affect unhealthy trees.  Leaf scorch may occur in drought conditions.  It can have brittle wood. Roots can crack sidewalks and clog drains and septic systems. Is frequently used as a street tree, but does not tolerate soil compaction, pollution, or road salts well.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Opposite, palmately lobed leaves
  • Margin wavy
  • Lobes 5, entire, pentagon outline
Cultivars:
Tags:
#native#deciduous#fall color#large shade tree#birds#shade tree#heavy shade#wildlife plant#shelter#fall interest#windbreak#playground#lawn tree#food#storm damage#wind screen#cpp#fall leaves#low flammability#buffer#fire resistant
Cultivars:
Tags:
#native#deciduous#fall color#large shade tree#birds#shade tree#heavy shade#wildlife plant#shelter#fall interest#windbreak#playground#lawn tree#food#storm damage#wind screen#cpp#fall leaves#low flammability#buffer#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    saccharum
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    These trees can be tapped to make maple syrup.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    Eastern North America
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    The seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.  The large diameter tree often contains hollows used by wildlife.
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Wind Screen
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Storm damage. Fire. White-tailed deer browse twigs and leaves but this tree is moderately resistant to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 100 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep Shade (No direct sunlight)
    Full Sun (Direct sunlight 8+ hours a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight (2-4 hrs) for only part of the day
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Description:
    Schizocarp with two samaras, large, wings nearly parallel.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Insignificant blooms in April
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite, palmately compound, entire, wavy, 5-lobed, acuminate at vein apices, green concolorous, and glabrate below to few hairs in vein axils. Lateral lobes project further from midrib than basal lobes; thus, a leaf outline is a pentagon. The leaves are a good yellow-orange fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Bark Description:
    Bark can have furrows where ontop the bark is dark brown and then below is lighter (nearly a reddish-brown to light brown).
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Scaly
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Description:
    Stems are slender. Stems and buds can be green, brown to reddish-brown. Buds are 6-12 mm, cone-shaped, acute, and have 4-8 pairs of lateral scales.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil