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Acer saccharum

Common Name(s):
Northern Sugar Maple, Sugar maple
Edible Plants, Native Plants, Trees

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, poor soil and heavy shade.  Because of its slow growth rate it makes strong wood that is resistant to storm damage.

Regions:  Mountains

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves: Fall      Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fall

Wildlife Value: The seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.  White-tailed deer browse twigs and leaves but this tree is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  The large diameter tree often contains hollows used by wildlife. It serves as a wind screen & buffers.

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.


50-75 ft.
The Acer saccharum has small, insignificant greenish-yellow flowers in early spring.
The Acer saccharum is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in fertile, slightly acidic, moist soils in full sun. It grows poorly in compacted, poorly drained soils, is intolerant of road salt and generally intolerant of urban pollution.
Medium to coarse
Conical to round crown; dense foliage
Sap used to make maple syrup
30-45 ft.
Growth Rate:
The Acer saccharums leaf is a 3-6" wide, opposite, simple leaf with 3 to 5 lobes which turn yellow/orange/red tones in the fall.
bird, cpp, deciduous, storm damage, fall color, large shade tree, wildlife, deer resistant

NCCES plant id: 1895

Acer saccharum Acer saccharum
Geneva Wirth, CC BY-NC-2.0
Acer saccharum Acer saccharum
Kent McFarland, CC BY-NC-2.0
Acer saccharum leaves Acer saccharum leaves
Maggie, CC BY-NC-2.0
acer saccharum acer saccharum
Kent McFarland, CC BY-NC-2.0