Sugar Maple Tree - Acer saccharum
Best known for its bright fall foliage and being the main source of maple syrup, sugar maple trees are native to eastern Canada and the northeast United States. The deciduous tree can reach heights of 80-115 feet tall, sometimes exceptionally reach 148 feet. At ten years a sugar maple usually is about 16 feet tall. When healthy, these trees can live for over 400 years. Sugar maple leaves are deciduous, with up to 20 cm of length and equal width as well as five palmate lobes.
The Sugar Maple Tree can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3-8. Its soil preference is deep, acidic to slightly alkaline soil that is well drained. It has moderate drought tolerance but prefers moist soil conditions. At maturity, the Acer saccharum grows to a height of 60-75 feet and a spread of 40-50 feet. It has a slow to medium growth rate and increases in height anywhere from less than 12 inches to 24 inches per year. Considered both an ornamental tree and a shade tree, the sugar maple features a spreading canopy that can block sunlight while adding beauty and visual interest to landscaping. Full sun and partial shade are best for the tree, and it prefers at least four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight daily.
The Sugar Maple Tree puts on quite a show in the fall, with beautiful leaves turning red, yellow, and burnt orange. In wildlife, the tree is commonly browsed by moose, white-tailed deer, and snowshoe hare. The seeds, twigs, leaves, and buds feed squirrels. Since it is fast-growing, easy to transplant, and has beautiful color, the sugar maple was a favorite tree for streets and parks in the 19th century. Ultimately it proved too delicate to continue in that role, but it is still great for commercial use in the production of syrup.