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sugar maple Acer saccharum play

Sugar maple is one of the most well-known and respected of U.S. hardwoods. In the cool-moist eastern regions where it grows, sugar maple is both commercially important and aesthetically loved.

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

Light
Due to great shade tolerance and release potential, regeneration systems with an element of shelter are useful, i.e. shelterwoods, group and single tree selections. Release from competition with striped maple, black cherry, yellow-poplar, and oaks is advised.

Water
Seedlings are very shade tolerant and can grow under a full canopy. Generally found on deep, moist, rich soils. Confined to coves in the southern part of its range.

Growth

Size
Medium to tall tree (to 100 feet) with very dense elliptical crown.

Timber Value
Sugar maple is used to make furniture, veneer, paneling, flooring, gunstocks, tool handles, plywood dies, cutting blocks, woodenwares, bowling pins, musical instruments, etc.

Wildlife Value
Deer browse can reduce development/regeneration and allow for American beech to assume the upperhand vs. sugar maple in long-term forest succession. Red, gray, and flying squirrels eat seeds, buds, twigs, and leaves. Porcupines eat the bark and sometimes girdle the trees.
Attracts deer, moose, snowshoe hare, squirrels, porcupines, screech owls, pileated woodpeckers, common flickers

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Sugar maple is commonly planted as an ornamental because of its potential for fantastic bright orange fall foliage. Sugar maple is the classic maple syrup provider - 35 to 50 gallons of sap are required to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup. Its wood is very hard.

Latin Meaning
Acer: Latin name - sharp (leaves or used as lances) or Celtic "ac" (hard) / saccharum: name for sugar cane - Greek "sakcharon" (sweet or sugar)

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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.