Most people can easily identify a maple tree. Known for their lobed leaves and their production of sap, maples are across North America in yards, parks, and forests. These trees are intriguing, and they have many unique qualities. Keep reading to discover four important and interesting facts about maple trees.
1. More Than 100 Types of Maples Exist
Red maples and silver maples are the two almost anyone can name, but you can find numerous other species throughout the U.S. Each maple variety has different preferences with soil type and sun exposure, and the trees vary in size, too. Whether you have a dry, shady yard or a moist, sunny one, you can find the maple tree for you. Here are some common varieties.
Growing up to 120 feet tall, sugar maples prefer partial to full sunlight and well-drained soil. You can identify them by their orange-red fall color.
Red maples grow to about 75 feet tall. They turn red in the fall. Red maples will tolerate most any soil type and thrive in sun to partial shade.
Silver maples grow to about 70 feet tall, and their name comes from their silver-green foliage. They require moist soil and grow well in flood zones.
Japanese maples only grow to about 25 feet tall. Most varieties remain red year-round, and they prefer well-drained soil and partial shade.Other maple varieties include the Norway maple, paperbark maple, and black maple.
2. Maple Trees Are Susceptible to Diseases
They may be pretty tolerant with pollution and soil type, but maple trees are quite susceptible to fungal infections. A maple may develop anthracnose, a condition that causes irregular, dead patches on the leaves. Powdery mildew disease causes the leaves to develop a white, fluffy coating, and verticillium wilt enters through the roots, ultimately causing the tree to lose foliage and die.
The best way to protect maple trees from disease is to prune them regularly, which encourages airflow through the branches. Clean up fallen leaves promptly in autumn, and avoid bringing firewood onto your land.
3. The Sugar Maple Is Not the Only Syrup-Producing Variety
People know about sugar maples for their heavy production of sap, which Americans have traditionally collected in late winter and used to make maple syrup. But while the sugar maple does heavily produce sap, you can use other maple varieties for syrup-making too.
The black maple also has heavy sap production that people can easily tap. And while red maples don’t produce as much sap, some syrup operations utilize them. Silver maples sap has a lower sugar content, but people can still use them to make syrup.
4. Spring Is the Best Time to Prune Maple Trees
You want to prune most trees in late winter before the buds appear. But if you were to prune a maple tree at this time, it would lose a lot of sap through the wounds. Thus, the best time to prune a maple tree is after the sap has stopped flowing and the buds have appeared in springtime.
When pruning a maple tree, you must be careful to remove any split or U-shaped limbs. These can weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to disease later on. Remove dead or deteriorating limbs promptly, regardless of the season, to prevent any disease from spreading.