Silvics of Sugar Maple

(Acer saccharum Marsh.)

Common names:
- rock maple, hard maple

Field identification aids:
- new shoots are light brown or rust colored (red maple shoots are dark red)
- buds are opposite and sharp pointed (red maple has blunt buds that are much larger)
- leaf edge has fewer teeth than red maple leaves
- graceful branching (red maple branching is more irregular)

Average mature tree:
- 100 to 120 years old
- 24 m to 27 m (80' to 90') tall
- 30 cm to 60 cm (12" to 24") in diameter at
breast height

Maximum life span:
- 200 - 300 years

Shade tolerance:
- tolerant

- deep and wide-spreading

- windfirm

- reproduces by seed, stump sprouting and to some extent root suckering
- tree may begin to produce seed when 40 to 60 years old, with full crop production after 70 to 100 years
- good seed crop production every 2 to 5 years
- best seed germination occurs on moist, mineral humus mixture
- has the unique ability to reproduce on undisturbed forest litter

Growing sites:
- range from well-drained to dry
- best growth is on deep fertile, well-drained moist loam soil
- usually found on well-drained upland soils

Associated species:
- usually found with beech, yellow birch, and red spruce on good sites
- occasionally found in pure stands

Principal damaging agents:
- sugar maple borer, gypsy moth, forest tent caterpillar, and fall cankerworm

- sugar maple comprises 4.6% of the merchantable volume in Nova Scotia
- young shoots are heavily-browsed by deer
- best tree for producing maple syrup
- wood is excellent for flooring, furniture, interior finishing, veneers, sporting goods, and musical instruments
- a majestic shade tree

Quick ID:
The leaf margin between lobes is smooth ' Sugar is Smooth'

Return to Tree Identification