Silver Maple Tree Facts
The silver maple (Acer rubrum) is one of the most popular species of deciduous trees in North America. It grows up to 25 feet tall and produces large, shiny leaves with a golden color. The wood of these trees are used for furniture, musical instruments, and other crafts.
They are very drought tolerant and grow well in areas where rainfall rarely reaches 100 inches per year or less.
Silver maples have been cultivated since ancient times. They were first introduced into New England in 1630 by Captain John Smith. These trees are native to Europe and Asia, but they are now found throughout much of North America.
There are two subspecies of silver maples: Acer rubrum var. alba and Acer rubrum var. rubrae . Both subspecies are native to North America.
Silver maples can live over 150 years. Their longevity makes them ideal for commercial purposes such as lumber and paper production. However, their slow growth rate means that they do not produce enough fruit to support a profitable business model.
For this reason, many people plant silver maples for ornamental purposes only because of their beauty rather than any economic reasons.
Silver Maple Problems
Silver maples have few problems, but they are not completely free of defects. In rare cases, these trees have been known to cause allergic reactions in humans and other mammals. The red male flowers can also cause a skin rash in some people.
Silver maples are also susceptible to several types of disease, including verticillium wilt and anthracnose. Both of these conditions can cause leaf death and slow growth.
Silver Maples and Wildlife
The silver maple is a popular species of trees among many types of wildlife. These trees produce food and shelter for various mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects. Some animals rely on the seeds for food, while squirrels and birds prefer the seeds and buds.
Silver maples also provide homes for many types of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. These invertebrates eat and feed on the foliage, flowers, and fruits of the tree. Some animals eat these insects and arthropods for food.
Silver Maple Pollination
Most of the maple trees are wind-pollinated, but the silver maple (Acer rubrum) is an insect-pollinated species. The flowers bloom from early spring to late spring. During this period, bees and other pollinating insects visit the flowers for food.
The flowers of the silver maple are perfect, which means that they have both male and female parts. Some plants are hermaphroditic, meaning that the flowers contain both sets of parts.
Silver Maple Identification
The silver maple is a beautiful tree, but it is not easy to distinguish between a silver maple and other types of maples without professional training or advanced knowledge. Some specimens of silver maple have a stem and leaf pattern that is much different than other types of maples. These patterns can be helpful for landscapers and arborists.
The bark of the silver maple is grayish brown or light green, but it has a distinctive diamond pattern. The twigs are a yellowish color, similar to the yellowish color of the buds. The lower part of the trunk is usually thick and wide, but it tapers as it gets higher.
The leaves are opposite and deciduous. They are typically 5 to 9 inches long and wide, but they can grow larger on very old plants.
The flowers of the silver maple are tiny and red in color. They are located in pairs or groups of three at the base of the leaves. The flowers become cone-shaped fruit that are also red in color.
These fruits may turn brown or gray as they mature. They are typically less than an inch in diameter and contain several seeds.
Silver maples are common in the eastern half of the United States, but they can be found in other locations. Most people assume that these trees are only located in wet lowlands, but this is a misconception. They can survive in wet conditions, but they also grow in dry areas with rocky or sandy soil.
Silver Maples and People
The silver maple has been used extensively by humans for several purposes. Native Americans used the bark of the tree to create medicine and dressing for wounds. The Ojibwe people boiled the root of the tree to create a sweet syrup, which was also used for medicinal purposes.
Some American settlers harvested the sap in early spring to create maple syrup. It is still used in this manner today.
These trees have also found other uses in modern society. People use the wood to create furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and other items that require strength and flexibility. They have also been used for creating tool handles because the wood does not require a coat of paint or protective sealant.
It is resistant to decay and insects, which makes it a good choice for outdoor projects.
Many landscapers prefer silver maples because they are easy to grow and maintain. Homeowners like them because the trees have shallow roots and do not damage or destroy other structures when they grow. This creates plenty of room for future growth.
In short, the silver maple is a tree that has countless uses and will continue to be a useful and beautiful addition to American landscapes for many years to come.
Sources & references used in this article:
Effects of soil amendments and fertilizer levels on the establishment of silver maple by JR Schulte, CE Whitcomb – J. Arboric, 1975 – hort.ifas.ufl.edu
Micro-and cutting propagation of silver maple. I. Results with adult and juvenile propagules by JE Preece, CA Huetteman, WC Ashby… – Journal of the American …, 1991 – journals.ashs.org
Growth and water relations of Kentucky coffee tree and silver maple following transplanting by R Kjelgren, B Cleveland – Journal of Environmental …, 1994 – meridian.allenpress.com
Increased diversity needed in landscape tree selection by DJ Chapman – Weeds, Trees and Turf, 1980 – archive.lib.msu.edu
Branch strength loss implications for silver maple (Acer saccharinum) converted from round-over to V-trim by GA Dahle, HH Holt, WR Chaney… – … and Urban Forestry, 2006 – academia.edu
Red maple and silver maple growth evaluated 10 years after application of paclobutrazol tree growth regulator. by PL Burch, RH Wells, WN Kline III – Journal of Arboriculture, 1996 – cabdirect.org
Micro-and cutting propagation of silver maple. II. Genotype and provenance affect performance by JE Preece, CA Huetteman, WC Ashby… – Journal of the American …, 1991 – journals.ashs.org
Chilling and bud break in silver maple by WC Ashby, DF Bresnan… – Journal of …, 1991 – meridian.allenpress.com
Implications of branch strength loss in silver maple trees converted from round-over to V-trims during electrical line clearance operations by GA Dahle, HA Holt, WR Chaney… – Proceedings of the …, 2006 – books.google.com