As one of the most prevalent trees in the United States, the Silver Maple is native to and widespread especially throughout eastern and central North America. Belonging to the botanical family Sapindaceae, Acer Saccharinum carries many sobriquets, including “Creek Maple”, “Silverleaf Maple”, “Soft Maple”, “Water Maple”, “Swamp Maple”, and “White Maple”. Faithful to all of these epithets, this fast-growing deciduous maple is frequently found in wetlands and along waterways, bears a silvery tint to the underside of its foliage, and provides a light, soft, and easily worked timber.
Often planted as an ornamental and shade tree thanks to its speedy development, its high tolerance of urban conditions, its ease of transplanting, and its lovely autumn foliage, the Silver Maple is a favorite selection of homeowners and municipalities alike. A mature specimen can tower up to 50-80 ft. with a generous rounded spread of 35-70 ft. It thrives best in moist environments, growing in medium, well-drained soils with full sun to partial shade, though it typically exhibits greater sunlight requirements than other maple tree variations. Like most other members of its botanical family, the Silver Maple possesses a 3-9 hardiness zone rating.
A Silver Maple canopy may seem humble at first, with its simple dark green leaves, palmately veined with deep angular notches between their lobes; touched by a breeze, however, this fluttering canvas shows a different face as the leaves’ downy silver undersides are revealed, further illuminating the tree’s shaggy grayish-brown bark. In the autumn, these leaf pigments brighten to pale yellow, though some specimens produce darker and more vivid shades of tawny orange or even bright red. The Silver Maple tends to shed its leaves more quickly than other maple variations, but it also produces its heavy fruit crop—the largest samara seeds of all the maples—much earlier, in March instead of in the fall.
Photos Bill Cook, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org
Photos Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.), Bugwood.org
Photos Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona, Bugwood.org
This Tree's Zone: 3 to 9
Your Growing Zone:
|Foliage||Light green with silver under|
|Shape||Rounded with open spreading crown|
|Sun||Full sun to part shade|
|Size||50 to 80 feet|
|Spread||35 to 70 feet|