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red maple Acer rubrum play

Red maple is one of the most abundant and widespread of eastern North American deciduous trees. Red maple's ability to thrive in a wide range of wet to dry conditions surpasses the tolerance capabilities of perhaps all other species.

Click to see more images.range map fall color wood grain

Light
Group selection and shelterwood methods favor red maple regeneration. Red maple stump sprouts heavily, making coppice regeneration viable in addition to seeding.

Water
May be found on very wet or dry sites; occurs as an associate in many forest cover types.

Growth

Size
Medium sized tree up to 90 feet. In forest, trunk usually clear for some distance, in the open the trunk is shorter and the crown rounded.

Timber Value
Red maple wood is relatively soft but is used for pulp, sawtimber, veneer, pallets, crates, barrels, flooring, plywood, cabinetry, railroad ties, etc.

Wildlife Value
Red maple is often browsed by large mammals, and is especially important to deer in late fall/ early winter in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Maine, and Minnesota.
Attracts deer, elk, moose, snowshoe hare, wood ducks, pileated woodpeckers, screech owls, flickers

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Red maple is widely used as an ornamental or shade tree. The foliage turns brilliant red or yellow in the fall. Sap may be used to make syrup, although yield is lower than from sugar maple. The wood is relatively soft. In managed forests, red maple is often considered a weed species particulalry when high quality oaks are desired.

Latin Meaning
Acer: Latin name - sharp (leaves or used as lances) or Celtic "ac" (hard) / rubrum: red

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.