If you are thinking of planting sugar maple trees, you probably already know that sugar maples are among the best-loved trees on the continent. Four states have picked this tree as their state tree – New York, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Vermont – and it is also the national tree of Canada. While grown commercially for its sweet syrup and value as lumber, sugar maple also makes an attractive addition to your backyard. Read on for more sugar maple tree facts and to learn how to grow a sugar maple tree.
Sugar Maple Tree Facts
Sugar maple tree facts provide lots of interesting information about this remarkable tree. Well before colonists began sugar maple tree growing in this country, Native Americans tapped the trees for their sweet syrup and used the sugar made from it for bartering. But sugar maples are lovely trees in and of themselves. The dense crown grows in an oval shape and offers ample shade in the summer. The leaves are dark green with five distinct lobes. The small, green flowers grow in groups hanging downward on slender stems. They flower in April and May, producing the “helicopter” winged seeds that mature in autumn. About that same time, the tree puts on a fantastic fall show, its leaves turning to bright shades of orange and red.
How to Grow a Sugar Maple Tree
If you are planting sugar maple trees, select a site in full sun for the best results. The tree will also grow in partial sun, with at least four hours of direct, unfiltered sun every day. A sugar maple tree growing in deep, well-drained soil is the happiest. The soil should be acidic to slightly alkaline. Once you have finished planting sugar maple trees, they will grow at a slow to medium rate. Expect your trees to grow from one foot to two feet (30.5-61 cm.) each year.
Caring for Sugar Maple Trees
When you are caring for sugar maple trees, irrigate them during dry weather. Although they are fairly drought tolerant, they do best with soil that is constantly moist but never wet. A sugar maple tree growing in too small a space will only create heartache. Be sure you have sufficient room to grow one of these beauties before planting sugar maple trees – they grow to 74 feet (22.5 m.) tall and 50 feet (15 m.) wide.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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