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Leucoderme Acer saccharum

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
AY-ser sa-KAR-um
Description

Northern Sugar Maple is a deciduous tree that is native to Eastern and central North America and is found in the mountains and sporadically in the Piedmont of NC. It may reach 50 to 120 feet tall with a dense spreading crown and grows at a slow to medium rate. The leaves have 5 lobes and coarsely toothed edges and turn brilliant shades of red, orange or yellow in the fall. In spring drooping racemes of yellow flowers are followed by winged samaras that are clustered on long reddish stalks in summer. It is the only tree commercially used today for syrup production.

Northern Sugar Maple grows best in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic, fertile soil in full sun but will tolerate average well-drained soils in sun to part shade. It is intolerant of compacted soil, high heat, air pollution, and road salt commonly found in urban environments. It is best used as a shade tree in lawns or park type settings.

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. 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ‘Barrett Cole'
    More columnar, 30 feet tall
  • ‘Bonfire’
    50 feet tall, faster growing, better heat tolerance.
  • ‘Commemoration’
    50 feet tall, faster grower, good fall color.
  • ‘JFS-KW8'
    50 feet tall, reliable fall color
  • ‘Morton’
    30-40 feet, better heat and drought tolerance
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#large shade tree#shade tree#heavy shade#orange leaves#wildlife plant#native tree#yellow leaves#shelter#fall interest#windbreak#playground#lawn tree#small mammals#storm damage#food source#cpp#NC native#buffer#children's garden#native garden#fire resistant#screening#pollinator plant#edible tree#fantz#food source fall#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • ‘Barrett Cole'
    More columnar, 30 feet tall
  • ‘Bonfire’
    50 feet tall, faster growing, better heat tolerance.
  • ‘Commemoration’
    50 feet tall, faster grower, good fall color.
  • ‘JFS-KW8'
    50 feet tall, reliable fall color
  • ‘Morton’
    30-40 feet, better heat and drought tolerance
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#large shade tree#shade tree#heavy shade#orange leaves#wildlife plant#native tree#yellow leaves#shelter#fall interest#windbreak#playground#lawn tree#small mammals#storm damage#food source#cpp#NC native#buffer#children's garden#native garden#fire resistant#screening#pollinator plant#edible tree#fantz#food source fall#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acer
    Species:
    saccharum
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    These trees can be tapped to make maple syrup. The wood is used for furniture and other items.
    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 cavities are utilized by cavity-nesting birds. Deer and moose browse the stems and leaves. Porcupines consume the bark and can girdle the upper stem.
    Play Value:
    Pieces Used in Games
    Shade
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Edibility:
    Sap used for maple syrup
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 120 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Oval
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a paired, papery-winged samara that averages 1 inch in length. Color is green maturing to brown
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Separate male and female flowers are greenish-yellow drooping panicles in April and May.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Palmasect
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    3 to 6 inches long and wide with 5 lobes. The basal lobes are relatively small, while the upper lobes are larger and deeply notched. The tip acuminate, base cordate and margins entire. Color is dark green in summer, changing to yellow, orange and red in fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Description:
    The bark variable but generally light gray to gray-brown, rough, deeply furrowed, and darker with age
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Scaly
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Only 1 terminal bud, larger than side buds
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Stems are slender with lenticels. Stems and buds can be green, brown to reddish-brown. Buds are 1/4"-1/2", cone-shaped, acute, and have 4-8 pairs of lateral scales.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds