Landowner Fact Sheets

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silver maple Acer saccharinum

Silver maple is a medium sized tree commonly found along the banks of water bodies and floodplains. It is often planted as an ornamental due its fast growth, fine foliage and fall color. Suseptibility to ice and snow breakage and invasive rooting tendencies make its use in urban situations questionable.

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

Light
Intentional regeneration of silver maple is uncommon. Silver maple does not compete well and requires the removal of competition.

Water
Silver maple is a bottomland species, found growing along large rivers and on river islands. Unlike red maple, it is not found on dry sites.

Growth

Size
Can become quite a large tree reaching over 100 feet tall, trunk usually short, dividing into several subtrunks. Long slender branches sweep downward and then curve gracefully upwards.

Timber Value
Silver maple is used for furniture, boxes, crates, food containers, and core stock.

Wildlife Value
Silver maples make good nesting trees for several species of ducks. Seeds are eaten by birds and squirrels, chipmunks. Beavers eat the bark. Deer and rabbits browse the twigs.
Attracts squirrels, chipmunks, wood ducks, beavers, deer, rabbits, turkeys, finches, grosbeaks

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Silver maple is a valuable wildlife tree in riparian areas. In late spring, it provides abundant seed for food, and when older it typically forms cavities for nesting and shelter. Many species of birds come to riparian forests rife with silver maples for breeding purposes. Silver maple sap can also be made into syrup. Silver maple was once widely planted as a cheap, rapidly growing landscape tree but as they get older and larger they become very dangerous due to their brittle wood.

Latin Meaning
Acer: Latin name - sharp (leaves or used as lances) or Celtic "ac" (hard) / saccharinum: sugary sap - 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.