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Sugar Maple Acer saccharum


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Sugar Maple
credit: Superior National Forest/CCSA

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Family: Aceraceae, Maple view all from this family

Description Large deciduous tree. Leaves 8–15 cm. long and equally wide with five palmate lobes. Leaf buds pointy, brown colored. Twigs green, turn dark brown. Flowers in corymbs of 5-10 together, yellow-green and without petals; flowering occurs in early spring after 30-55 growing degree days. Fruit a double samara with two winged seeds, seeds globose, 7–10 mm. diameter, the wing 2–3 cm. long. Seeds fall from the tree in autumn and remain viable for only a few days.

Dimensions Height: 21-30 m. (70-100 ft.)
Diameter: 0.6-0.9 m. (2-3 in.).

Habitat Canyons & valleys, Mountains.

Range Southeast, Great Lakes, New England, Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Canada.

Discussion Sugar Maples engage in hydraulic lift, drawing water from lower soil layers and exuding that water into upper, drier soil layers. This not only benefits the tree itself but also many other plants growing around it.

Comments Sugar maple is suscetible to salt, excessive heat, and leaf scorch in drought. The dense shade and shallow roots of sugar maple may preclude growing lush grass under its canopy.

Exposure Preference Shade to partial shade.

Native Distribution Newfoundland., s. along mts. to n. Georgia, w. to Minnesota & extreme e. Kansas

Site Preference Moist bottomlands; rich, wooded slopes

Soil Preference Rich, moist, well-drained soils. No pH preference.