Acer saccharinum

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 2 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: silver maple
Type: Tree
Family: Sapindaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 50.00 to 80.00 feet
Spread: 35.00 to 70.00 feet
Bloom Time: March
Bloom Description: Greenish-yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree, Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Drought, Air Pollution

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist soils, but shows somewhat surprising tolerance for poor dry soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Acer saccharinum commonly known as silver maple gets its name from the silvery undersides of its leaves. This is one of the largest deciduous trees native to Missouri, typically growing to 50-80’ (less frequently to 100’) tall with a rounded open spreading crown. It is native to eastern and central North America where it typically occurs in moist to wet, sometimes mucky, often poorly drained soils on floodplains, along the edges of streams and rivers and in low woods. It is a fast-growing, somewhat graceful tree that formerly was a very popular urban landscape selection for lawns and streets, but has more recently fallen somewhat out of favor because of the proclivity of its weak-wooded limbs to split when stressed by high winds or ice/snow. Polygamous greenish yellow flowers bloom in clusters in early spring (March) before the foliage. Flowers give way to paired samaras (to 2” long) that mature in late spring. Bark is gray to brownish gray. Mature tree trunks and limbs develop a shaggy appearance as the bark develops long thin flaky scales that exfoliate at the ends. Deeply 5-lobed light green leaves (to 6” across) have silvery undersides. Fall color is usually unremarkable. Tree sap is sweet, hence the species name which comes from the Latin word for sugar, but syrups made therefrom are greatly inferior to those made from sugar maple (Acer saccharum).

Genus name is the Latin name for a maple tree.

Specific epithet means sugary in reference to the sweet sap.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to verticillium wilt, anthracnose and canker. Also susceptible to scale and borers. As with many fast growing trees, silver maple has weak brittle branches that are susceptible to breaking in high winds or when coated with ice/snow in winter. Shallow roots may damage nearby sidewalks.

Garden Uses

A beautiful large landscape tree. Weak wood is a concern. Perhaps best sited in areas of poor soil or low wet conditions where other stronger wooded trees will not grow.