What Kind Of Maple Tree Do You Have?

Maple trees have long been known not only for their ability to produce delicious syrup, but also for their towering beauty. These large trees tend to have broad canopies, making them excellent for providing shade. Their leaves are broad and feature prominent veins, making them easy to recognize. However, there are several different types of maple trees. If you have one or more maples in your backyard, knowing which variety they are can help you determine how to best care for them, and what to expect as they grow and age. Here's a look at the three maple varieties that are common in North America.

Red Maple

Also known as the scarlet maple or swamp maple, this variety is easy to identify because of its colorful leaves. In the spring, they start out mostly green with red highlights, but they are entirely dark red by the time fall comes. Red maples release many winged fruits, which should be swept up to prevent new trees from sprouting. They reach about 30 – 100 feet in height when mature, and they grow best in areas that receive full sunlight, though they will tolerate partial shade. Pruning is not generally necessary, but pruning young trees can help them grow to the desired shape.

Silver Maple

Silver maples tend to be taller and narrower than red maples, reaching between 50 and 100 feet in height when mature. Their leaves are medium green, and they turn yellow or orange in the fall. Silver maples require full sunlight to thrive. They grow well in cities since they tolerate air pollution, and they should be trimmed when they're young to establish a proper shape.

Sugar Maple

Though all species of maple tree do have sweet sap that can be used to make syrup, sugar maples have far more sap than other varieties. Sugar maples have a very round shape. They reach about 50 – 80 feet tall and are just as wide as they are tall. The leaves are dark green in the summer and turn yellow, orange or red in the fall. Sugar maples will grow well in full sunlight to full shade, but they will not tolerate a drought. Sugar maples don't typically require pruning.

If you're thinking about planting a maple tree, knowing a bit about the three North American varieties also comes in handy. For instance, if you have a shady area, you're best off planting a share-tolerant sugar maple. If you want to create as much shade as possible, a sugar maple or red maple is ideal, whereas if you have a narrower space to fill, a narrower silver maple will fit well. For advice, talk to a professional like Jerry's Tree Service.