Module 1: Introduction to Silviculture

Silvics of Red Maple

SILVICS OF RED MAPLE
(Acer rubrum L.)

Common names:
- soft maple, white maple, swamp maple

Field identification aids:
- sharp corner on leaf margin between lobes
- twigs are a deep red, often with branching perpendicular to main branch
- blunt buds (sugar maple buds are smaller and sharp)

Average mature tree:
- 50 to 60 years old
- 18 m to 22 m (60' to 70') tall
- 30 cm to 46 com (12" to 18") in diameter at breast height

Maximum life span:
- 100 years

Shade tolerance:
- medium

Rooting:
- shallow, wide-spreading lateral roots, occasionally with a small tap root

Windfirmness:
- moderately windfirm

Reproduction:
- reproduces by seed, stump sprouting, and suckering
- tree may begin to produce seed when 30 years old, with full crop production after 40 years
- good seed crop production almost every year
- best germination on a moist mineral soil with light leaf cover

Growing sites:
- range from poorly-drained to dry upland site
- best growth is on well-drained sites
- usually grows on moderately-drained soils, but are very common around swamps

Associated species:
- black spruce and balsam fir on poorly drained sites
- balsam fir , red spruce and yellow birch on well drained sites
- rarely found in pure stands

Principal damaging agents:
- gypsy moth, forest tent caterpillar, fall cankerworm, maple leaf cutter
- deer, moose and rabbit browsing

Notes:
- red maple comprises 14.9% of the merchantable volume in Nova Scotia forests - an increasing component of mixedwood stands due to regular seed production, ease of sprouting, medium tolerance, and continued partial cutting
- branches are prone to breakage during winter storms
- saplings are split and used to make baskets
- can be used to produce maple syrup

Quick ID:
The leaf margins have many teeth 'Red is Rough'

 

Return to Tree Identification