How to Care for Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

The Acer Saccharum is also known as the Sugar Maple Tree and Rock Maple, it is a flowering plant species from the Sapindaceae family, native to the hardwood forests of Canada and the United States. The Sugar Maple Tree is the national tree of Canada and four of the US states (New York, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Vermont) also have picked this tree as their state symbol. The Sugar Maple Tree has both commercial and ornamental uses, mostly it is grown for the extraction of Maple Syrup, and lumber. The Sugar Maple Tree was a part of Native American history and civilization as well, it was used to extract sugar and then this sugar was used for bartering for different types of commodities.

They are also grown for shade, as they grow a very thick layer of leaves and branches that overlap and provide protection from the sunlight during the harsh summer days. The color of its leaves is mostly dark green but during the autumn time, the leaves turn red and mostly fall off the branches. As the Sugar Maple Tree belongs to the flowering plant family, they also grow small green colored flowers in clusters and these flowers are mostly hanging downwards with the terminal branches.

Their flowering season starts in April and ends in June.  These flowers turn into seeds that are shaped like the helicopter wings. Mostly these seeds remain attached to the tree till the autumn and then they fall off the ground. These seeds can be used for the growing new Sugar Maple Trees.

Description of Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

Height:

The Sugar Maple Tree can reach upto 25 to 35 meters (80–115 ft) in height (rarely 40 meters). They can be even taller than this but mostly their height growth stops between 80 to 90 feet and only a few plants cross the 100 feet in height. In a single year, they can grow upto 30 to 60 centimeters.

Leaves:

They have dark green leaves, each leaf has five lobes, leaves are arranged opposite to one another on the terminal branches of the Sugar Maple Tree. The basal lobes of the Sugar Maple leaves are small while the upper lobes are large.

The leaves of the Sugar Maple Tree change their color according to the season, you can almost see 8 to 12 different shades of these leaves each year. They start from Green in the spring and during the autumn before the fall their leaves turn completely red.

Flowers:

The flowers of the Sugar Maple Tree are also of green color and they grow in the form of a cluster. Mostly 5 to 10 flowers grow on the same node connected. Flowering mostly occurs in the spring when the temperature crosses the 50-degree Fahrenheit. Flowering is seen when the tree is almost 10 years old.

Seed:

The flowers of the Sugar Maple Tree turn into the small sacs of the seeds. These sacs are shaped like the helicopter wings. They produce very small seeds (7 to 9cm at max). These small seeds fell off from the tree during the autumn periods when the temperature drops. These seeds germinate and give life to the new Sugar Maple Trees.

Trunk and branches:

With time, the width of the branches and trunk of the Sugar Maple Tree grows. A 10 years old tree mostly has 30 inches width of the trunk. The whole trunk is covered with a bark. The Sugar Maple Tree grows a lot of branches and sub-branches. These spread all around the trunk and create an oval shape for the plant.

History of Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

The Sugar Maple Trees are a centuries-old species of the maple trees native to the American and Canadian forests. Native Americans used to extract their sugary syrup almost a thousand years ago. But the Modern history of the Sugar Maple Tree starts in the 1600s when chemist Robert Boyle explained the benefits of the Sugar Maple Tree and its syrup to the European settlers. John Smith was the first person to learn the sugar extraction process from this tree from the Native Americans. He also learned about making coughing medicines from this syrup as well.

After that settlers tried to use it for different other things as well, such as dye-making, soap making, and different types of tonics from the different parts of the tree to cure diseases and to provide strength. As more and more settlers were becoming aware of the benefits of this plant, they started growing it into their fields.

Even these days this tree is grown for sugar extraction and sweet sap harvesting. Apart from all this, they have also been used throughout American history for lumber. Most of the people now are growing the Sugar Maple Trees to change the look of their landscape or for the ornamental purposes.

Facts of Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

Below are a few facts related to the Sugar Maple Tree:

  • The tree is the state symbol of four US states including New York, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Vermont, this tree is also the national tree of Canada as well
  • This is one of the most loved plants in the United States and Canada, they have a rich history in this region.
  • The Sugar Maple Tree is grown for sugar extraction, sap harvesting, lumber, and for ornamental purposes as well.
  • The Sugar Maple Tree is in human use for different purposes for centuries and almost all its parts are useful.
  • The tree has leaves that change their colors, you might see 8 to 12 different colors of the Sugar Maple Tree leaves within a year. They also grow clustered green flowers.
  • The Sugar Maple Trees have also won many awards including the National Champion Award for the trees as well.

Uses of Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

The Sugar Maple Tree has been used in the region for different purposes, mostly they were grown for commercial uses that include the sap harvesting and sugar syrup and tonics extraction, to treat different types of diseases including severe coughing, fever and kidney diseases. The tree is also grown for the sugar extraction, the syrup from the Sugar Maple Tree is converted into the sugar and consumed. They are also grown in the United States and Canada for the lumber.

While the ornamental uses include the beautification of the landscapes and back yards. As they give different colors during the different seasons, they are liked by a lot of people. They are also grown to provide shade alongside the roads.

How to grow Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

The Sugar Maple Trees are easy to grow, but you need a bigger space and a bright environment to grow them. You can grow them in your backyards, but you need to make sure that you are planting them somewhere they can get enough light. Do not plant them under the shade of other trees, this will slow their growth.

You need the Sugar Maple seeds to grow them, you can sow these seeds in the soil and provide them water and wait for them to sprout. Once they sprout you need to keep watering them and provide them fertilizers. The small Sugar Maple Trees require a little protection from the animals and children as well, as their stems are weak and can easily be broken.

With the time they grow bigger and bigger, and their needs for water, light, and fertilizers grow with their size as well. You need to provide them enough water and fertilizers for proper growth.

How to Water Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

From a young age, you need to provide Sugar Maple Trees regular water supply. After plantation, you can start watering it regularly once every two or three days. During the rainy days and very cold days you can stop watering it for the period the rain lasts. They need a proper water supply to thrive.

  • You can create a watering schedule for them based on their age, size, seasonal, and climate factors.
  • If you are growing it in a hot and dry area you need to water it more frequently and if you are growing it in the cold and wet area where rains are very common, you can water the Sugar Maple Tree based on the weekly requirements.
  • As the Sugar Maple Tree grows bigger you need to provide it with more water.

Lighting and Temperature needs for Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

The Sugar Maple Tree requires plenty of light to thrive so you should plant it somewhere it can get sunlight all day long. If you are growing a large number of trees at the same place, you should plant them at a distance from each other. Try not to plant them under the shade of other trees as this will slow their potential growth and they might not reach their actual size as well.

These are large trees and they are capable of surviving both the cold and hot temperatures. Mostly they thrive when the temperature is above 11° C (50° F), and less than 40° C (104° F). Smaller trees require a little protection from the frost in some regions but once they grow upto 5 feet they can bear the temperature fluctuations.

Soil needs for Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

They like to be grown in a slightly acidic to alkaline soil. If you are growing them in a well-draining soil the Sugar Maple Tree will show even better results. They like to be watered again and again but they do not like the water to be trapped in the soil around them for the long term. They grow well if you provide them a porous and quick-draining soil.

Fertilizer for Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple Tree)

The Sugar Maple Trees mostly require the nitrogen as a fertilizer, you need to provide this to your plants if you want to see faster growth and better results. Fertilizing your tree helps it get the nutrients that it requires for proper growth.

You can use the fertilizer based on the size of the plant, smaller Sugar Maple Trees require a small amount of the Sugar, and as they grow their fertilizer requirements grow as well. You can either add the fertilizers directly into the soil or you can feed your tree the mixture of fertilizer and water regularly.

Make sure that the fertilizer you are using has all the required nutrients that your tree needs for its proper growth. They need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do you care for a new Sugar Maple Tree?

Answer: The Sugar Maple Trees require proper watering, fertilizers, and light to grow, if you have a new or a small Sugar Maple Tree, you need to protect it from grazing and provide it the required amount of water and fertilizers regularly. You also need to be careful and not to damage its roots with overwatering and overfeeding of fertilizers.

Question: How fast do Sugar Maple Trees grow in a year?

Answer: The Sugar Maple Trees grow very fast and they can get a height of 12 to 24 inches per year based on the conditions they are grown. In 10 years, most of the Sugar Maple Trees cross 20 feet in height.

Question: How do you fertilize a Sugar Maple Tree?

Answer: Try to spread the fertilizer almost 12” inches away from the trunk. You can also create a liquid mixture of the fertilizer and water and feed your trees with this mixture once a month.

Question: How often should you water a newly planted Sugar Maple Tree?

Answer: Water almost every 2nd or 3rd day to your Sugar Maple Tree within the first month of plantation and after that watering once a week is enough for its proper growth.