How long does it take for a sugar maple tree to grow


Plant Care & Growing Guide

By

Vanessa Richins Myers

Vanessa Richins Myers

Vanessa Richins Myers is a seasoned horticulturist, writer, and educator with over 10 years of training and experience as a professional horticulturist and gardener. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture, with an emphasis in landscape design and urban horticulture. She volunteers as a community garden specialist.

Learn more about The Spruce's Editorial Process

Updated on 05/27/21

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

In This Article

  • Care

  • Pruning

  • Common Pests & Diseases

Sugar maple trees are well-known for the liquid gold that resides inside them: sap. Theirs is especially high in sugar content, which means not as much of it is needed in order to create maple syrup. On top of that, sugar maple trees add a dose of stunning beauty to any landscape, enlivening it even further once they change to a vibrant orange-red come fall.

Native to North America, sugar maple trees are best planted in early fall. They'll grow slowly but steadily, adding around 24 inches a year and reaching maturity after 30 to 40 years.

Botanical Name  Acer saccharum
Common Name  Sugar maple, hard maple, rock maple
Plant Type  Tree
Mature Size  40–80 ft. tall, 30–60 ft. wide
Sun Exposure  Full sun, partial shade
Soil Type  Moisture but well-drained
Soil pH  Acidic
Bloom Time  Spring
Flower Color  Yellow-green
Hardiness Zones  3–8 (USDA)
Native Area  North America

Sugar Maple Tree Care

Anyone who has ever taken a ride through New England in the fall has probably caught a glimpse of the spectacular orange and red shades of the sugar maple tree. The towering titan provides excellent shade year-round and is beloved not only for its sprawling canopy (which is a vibrant green throughout the rest of the year), but also its namesake crop, maple syrup.

If you've hoping to grow a sugar maple tree from infancy, you will need lots of patience—the varietal takes decades to reach maturity and likely won't be tapped for syrup until it reaches 30 or 40 years of age. Still, there is plenty to enjoy between now and then—care for your maple tree properly, and you'll have an heirloom specimen that will lend beauty to your landscape for centuries to come.

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

Sugar maple trees are best planted in a spot that receives full sun. Because they are often the largest specimen in the landscape (or will eventually be), it's unlikely that they will remain in partial shade for long unless they're in a forest environment. Still, they can survive in partial shade as well, as long as they get at least four to six hours of direct sunlight a day.

Soil

While sugar maple trees can thrive in a variety of different soil conditions, they'll do best in a mixture that is rich in organic matter, well-drained, and very deep. Because the tree will eventually get very large, it's important to plant it in a spot that will allow its roots to grow uninhibited—you should be wary of nearby sidewalks, home foundations, and driveways. Additionally, sugar maple trees will grow best in soil that is slightly acidic, with a pH level between 5.5 to 6.8

Water

As you may suspect, the exact water needs of the sugar maple tree depends on how big it is at that stage of its life. Consistent watering is especially important as the tree is getting established in your landscape—about one to two times a week generally works best. Beyond that, you can expect your sugar maple tree to need around five gallons or more of water a week. While it may be hard to tell if such a large specimen is getting enough water, you can look to clues like browning or wilting leaves as an indication that the plant needs more water.

Temperature and Humidity

As long as it's grown in the proper hardiness zone, you should have no problem maintaining the right temperature requirements for your sugar maple tree. However, there are a few instances where temperature plays an important role in the sugar maple trees' success. The trees are best planted during the cool weather of the fall or winter, and the successful harvesting of sap relies on an oscillating climate of cold nights (around 20 degrees Fahrenheit) and warmer days (around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) in late winter/early spring. This rise and fall in temperature creates internal pressure within the tree that causes the sap to flow.

Fertilizer

Generally, fertilizer is not a must-have when it comes to growing a successful sugar maple tree. That being said, if the soil in your landscape lacks nutrients, younger trees can benefit from a bit of added nutrition. Feed your tree with a slow-release fertilizer blend that is specially formulated for shrubs and trees.

Pruning Sugar Maple Trees

Only prune your sugar maple tree if necessary (like if the branches are hitting a roof or are damaged), and do so only at the end of summer or in the fall to avoid problems with bleeding sap. Additionally, you should never tap a tree for sap once the buds appear. In general, you can expect an average of 10 gallons per tap, and a tree can have up to three taps depending on the trunk diameter. It usually takes up to 50 gallons of sugar maple sap (depending on sugar content) to make one gallon of syrup.

Common Pests & Diseases

Sugar maple trees can come in contact with many pests and diseases throughout their long lives. Most common are cosmetic diseases, which impact only the leaves of the tree, and not the actual health of the tree itself. These can include diseases like root rot, sapstreak, tar spot, powdery mildew, verticillium wilt, and lichen.

Additionally, there should not be too many noticeable pest problems besides the possibility of bud damage. Some potential pests include aphids, maple leaf-cutter, and sapsuckers, most of which can be removed from the tree using strong jets of water or treated using a horticultural oil like neem oil.

How Fast Does A Sugar Maple Grow?

Some say that there is nothing sweeter than home-tapped maple syrup. Knowing this, you have planted or will plant some of your own trees or perhaps have noticed a wild sugar maple in your area. So, you are wondering, how fast does a sugar maple grow, and when can you start tapping? In this post, we gather research from extension offices and other sources from around the web to thoroughly answer your question.

Sugar maples (Acer saccharum) grow at a rate characterized as slow to medium, or 1-foot to 2-feet per year. It is recommended that you do not tap your maple until it is 10-inches in diameter at breast height. To reach this size, it takes a sugar maple approximately 40-years or more.

Read the rest of this post for details regarding the above answer. We include tips on how to grow sugar maple and how to make sugar maple grow faster. In addition, we answer several questions related to the topic of this post.

Speed of Sugar Maple Growth

Fortunately, sugar maples grow faster than many other tree species. Unfortunately, trees generally do not grow very fast. According to Hillsboro Sugarworks, a Vermont organic maple syrup producer, it takes 40 years or more before it is time to harvest sap from a sugar maple. 

Many sources agree, including the Penn State Extension office, that you should only tap a sugar maple that is 10-inches in diameter or larger. Waiting for the tree to mature to this level might seem tedious, but it is important for the tree's health.

A healthy sugar maple tree that is allowed to mature before being tapped will produce sap for many generations and will produce more and more sap per season as they grow bigger. In fact, some trees have been producing sap for over 100 years.

When a tree first reaches maturity, at 10-inches in diameter, the method is only to tap the tree with one tap. However, as the tree grows, you can tap the tree up to 4 times, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Add a second tap at 15-inches, a third at 20-inches, and a fourth for 25-inches and larger.

How Big Do Sugar Maples Grow?

A mature sugar maple can grow to a height of 60-feet to 80-feet with proper care and environment. In terms of canopy diameter, the branches can reach a spread of 40-feet to 50-feet. The sugar maple will reach nearly full height in approximately 40 years but will continue to add diameter, height and spread throughout its growing life.

Where Do Sugar Maples Grow Best?

While sugar maples are most closely associated with the eastern United States, they grow in a very wide range of environments. In fact, they will grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8a. However, the best maple syrup is produced in regions that routinely freeze at night during the spring.  

In terms of localized growing climate, sugar maples have a few preferences. First of all, they prefer a full sun area and will grow best when unshaded. However, they will tolerate partial shade as long as they get at least four hours of unfiltered sun each day.

Plant your sugar maple in well-drained, deep, organic-rich soil for optimal growing. Ideally, the soil is moist at all times but never waterlogged. Achieving this level of moisture may require infrequent summer watering even though sugar maples are drought tolerant. These trees will not grow well in overly compacted soil. Sugar maples prefer slightly acidic soil.

Finally, sugar maples grow best when provided ample space to grow without competition. This means planting your sugar maple in a wide-open space away from other trees. Also, removing competing trees and shrubs as they sprout around the base of your sugar maple will ensure the best growing conditions.

How Do You Make Sugar Maples Grow Faster?

To maximize sugar maple growth rate, take the following steps. First, ensure that your sugar maple has the requirements described in the above section. Second, do not tap your sugar maple until it has reached the required diameter. Third, monitor your sugar maple for pest infestations and treat those infestations as soon as you notice them. And finally, fertilize your sugar maple as needed.

Sugar Maple Pest Prevention for Optimal Growth

Sugar maples are generally pest resistant but can still fall prey to unwanted bacteria, fungus, mammals, and insects, among other pests. The rest of this subsection covers basic sugar maple pest prevention strategies for optimal growth.

Click here for a deer repellant from Amazon.

First of all, it is essential to prevent deer from browsing while the tree is young. One encounter with a deer can severely stunt or end a young sugar maple's life. Treating for deer while the maple is small with a tree collar or fence. It is also advisable to employ deer repellant strategies such as dogs and over-the-counter products.

Click here for an organic fungicide and anti-bacterial from Amazon.

Treat for leaf spot, a fungal infection, every spring, or if you notice any sort of leaf spot disorder. There are several leaf spot products on the market, including organic and non-organic options. In addition, several remedies can be concocted with standard household products, such as baking soda.

Also, it is best practice for all trees to prune dead wood every winter. Dead wood acts as a harbor for bacteria, fungus, and insects because the sugar maple tree's natural defenses are no longer functioning in that area. Once the dead wood is thoroughly infested, the problem can move to the living parts of the tree.

Ask at your local nursery or call your local extension office for the best treatments for all diseases. It is often helpful to bring a sample of the problem in for identification (either in a plastic bag to prevent spread or in picture form). Remember, the best pest prevention is always ensuring that your maple has optimal growing conditions and nutrients.

Additional Reading on Pest Prevention

Garden Tabs has tons of great articles to help with your indoor and outdoor plants. They include these two articles appropriate for helping with sugar maple care. Read this article to learn how to treat gall mites, "How To Get Rid Of Gall Mites [Inc. On Maple Trees And On Fuchsia]." While this article specifically speaks on deer prevention for flowers, it is still helpful for sugar maple trees, "How To Stop Deer From Eating My Flowers? [5 Proven Tactics]."

When Should You Fertilize A Sugar Maple?

Usually, there is no need to fertilize your sugar maple tree. That is to say, they get all the nutrients they need from the local soil, and adding additional fertilizer will not speed up growth. However, it is sometimes necessary to supplement the soil with fertilizer, especially when you notice signs of nutrient deficiency, inappropriate pH, or stunted growth.

Click here for an affordable at-home soil test kit from Amazon.

Look for signs of nutrient deficiency in abnormally colored leaves throughout the tree or in localized areas. If you suspect a need for fertilizer, it is wise to get your soil tested. You can perform this test by sending off a soil sample or by using over-the-counter soil testers. These techniques can be used to test for macronutrients, micronutrients, and soil pH.

Click here for fertilizer spikes from Amazon. These are an excellent option for fertilizing in the fall.

If you are going to fertilize, the best time is when your tree needs it the most. However, this can lead to leaf burn if you need to apply large quantities of fertilizer. To avoid this, fertilize in the late fall after the leaves fall off of the tree. As a word of warning, only fertilize your sugar maple as needed because too much fertilizer will harm the tree and actually slow growth down.

How Far Apart Should Sugar Maples Be Planted?

Plant sugar maple trees 35-feet to 50-feet apart. This distance optimizes the trees' growth capacity as it allows them plenty of root space, crown space, and sun exposure. Planting sugar maples closer than this recommended distance will slow their growth and reduce their production potential.

Does A Sugar Maple Have Deep Roots?

Sugar maples can but do not always have deep roots. In poorer, more compact soil conditions, the root system will stay closer to the surface and spread out over a wider area. However, it is more optimal to have deep soil. This allows the sugar maple deep roots, which increase tree health, stability, and syrup output.

In Closing

In this post, we have answered the question of how fast a sugar maple grows and how long it takes before you can start tapping the tree for syrup. We include guides on the environment sugar maples prefer and how to increase a sugar maple's growth rate. In addition, we answer a few questions related to the topic of this post. Good luck!

Canadian sugar maple - habitats, cultivation and care

Canadian, or sugar maple is a tree with a beautiful lush crown. The sugar maple is considered the fastest growing plant. Under favorable conditions, in the first year it grows to a meter, and soon turns into a tall and slender tree.

A tree can live up to four hundred years.

  • Maple varieties
    • Planting
    • Maple Growing Conditions
    • Features of plant
    • Application

How pleasant it is to hide in the shade of this tree in the summer heat!

  • The sugar maple is native to the mainland of North America.
  • It is most widely used in the eastern United States.
  • A red maple leaf adorns the Canadian flag.
  • Well, this kind of tree has taken root in Europe and Russia.

Botanical name Aser, which translates as " sharp ". This is due to the pointed shape of the maple leaf:

  1. A distinctive feature of the Canadian red maple is the color of the leaves: dark green on top, on the back has a velvet surface and a silver tint. This type of maple reaches a height of up to 40 meters, a crown width of 20 meters.
  2. There is a species of maple "Laciniatum Vieri". It is a low tree, the height of which does not exceed 15 meters. The tree is interesting with an unusual asymmetric crown and thin openwork leaves that have a pinkish tint.
  3. A separate botanical variety of maple is a special variety of "Bonsai". It is a miniature tree that is grown in a pot using a special technology.

The tree blossoms, the leaves are rich in shades and become the main decoration of the house in autumn .

To grow it will require difficult care, but the result will pay off all efforts.

Planting a plant0033 especially comfortable conditions

. It must be planted in a well-lit place.

It is best to plant young immature seedlings in spring or autumn. Planting material must be purchased exclusively in containers, with a closed root system. It is not recommended to destroy the earthen lump. In this case, the plant will take root much faster.

Canadian sugar maple can be propagated using grafts, cuttings and seeds .

  • In its natural environment, a tree reproduces by cuttings.
  • Cuttings do not always take root well, so they try to use seed material.
  • Another propagation option is air layering. To form a new root system, layering must be treated with a stimulant for root formation.

For planting try to use annual shoots . They are placed in a container with loosened soil, which contributes to the accelerated development of the root system. During growth, the plant requires regular watering and the mandatory application of complex mineral fertilizers.

Transplanting to open ground is possible after the young plant is strong.

Before planting sugar maple seedlings, must be adapted to outdoor conditions. To do this, seedlings should be taken out of the room for several minutes, gradually increasing the time spent in the fresh air.

  1. For planting, dig a hole fifty centimeters in diameter.
  2. The plant is placed so that the stem is five centimeters deep in the soil.
  3. Water the plant thoroughly after planting. Watering one plant will require up to fifteen liters of water.
  4. If several Canadian maple plants are planted, then it is necessary to make a distance of three to five meters between the trees, since it should be taken into account that in the future the crown of the plant will grow strongly.

The sugar variety grows slowly, so you should be patient and follow certain growing conditions .

Maple growing conditions

  • The plant is often affected by coral blotches, which must be removed at the first appearance. It tolerates pruning very well.
  • Water stagnation in the root system is not allowed, but on a hot day a good watering is needed.
  • In summer, the plant needs to be watered twice a week.
  • In spring and autumn, once a month is sufficient for watering.
  • After watering, shallow soil loosening and weeding should be carried out.
  • A young plant for the winter should be covered with spruce branches. Sugar maple does not take winter cold, freezing rain and winter frosts well. It is necessary to isolate the plant from strong wind gusts.

But if you provide good care and plenty of space, Canadian maple will become a stylish decoration of any landscape, thanks to the original shape of the crown, bright leaves and unusual fruits.

This tree is called sugar tree for its excellent honey-bearing properties.

Can be used as a hedge.

Positive energy of this tree is noted .

Features of the plant

After flowering, seeds ripen on the tree, which fall to the ground in autumn and in spring, a palisade of young shoots sprouts under the tree, but not many of them survive.

In early spring, the Canadian maple has a movement of sap from the roots to the crown , like a birch.

At this time of the year, a large number of insects are found on blossoming maple flowers, collecting sweet nectar .

Leaves of a mature tree are not affected by pests. Voracious caterpillars and harmful insects bypass this plant.

In ancient times, hard and durable Canadian sugar maple wood was used in the manufacture of spears and handles for edged weapons.

Area of ​​application

  • The main area of ​​application for Canadian or sugar maple is landscaping. Trees are planted in gardens and parks, their fate is drawn up. In autumn, the leaves acquire an incredibly wide range of various shades, their unusual beauty does not leave anyone indifferent.
  • Canadian maple is much more durable than oak. Therefore, it is used in the manufacture of furniture, flooring and household utensils.
  • Canadian maple parquet flooring has a beautiful shade, a pleasant sheen and a good finish under lacquer. It is resistant to mechanical stress. Wood is used for the manufacture of skis, musical instruments such as bassoon.
  • Sugar maple is used to produce maple sap, which is used in Canadian and European cooking as a syrup. Maple syrup has an exceptional sweetness. It is much sweeter than birch sap. The juice contains up to six percent sugar, with sucrose making up sixty-five percent.
  • Seeds and juice of this tree have unique medicinal properties. Their composition is rich in vitamin C, as a result, it easily relieves colds. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat urinary and gallbladder. Canadian maple can become a sweet cure for many diseases.

It is a good honey plant. From one hectare of maple forest you can collect more than two hundred kilograms of honey! Breeders are successfully working on breeding varieties that can produce a large amount of juice.

varieties, growing conditions and uses

Mon, 11/04/2016 - 12:29 | Comments: 0 | Author: OLCHUKS

The sugar maple originates from North America and is widely used in the eastern United States and Canada, and the maple leaf is featured on the Canadian flag. However, this tree quickly took root both in Europe and in Russia, it is found everywhere in temperate latitudes. Sugar maple wood is highly valued as it has dozens of uses and is highly durable and dense. Additionally, its ability to produce sweet maple sap contributes to the popularity of the tree.

Contents:

  • General Description of Sugar Maple
  • Varieties of
  • Landing
  • Growing Conditions for Maple
  • Application of sugar maple

General description of the sugar maple

The sugar maple, also known as Canadian maple, is a deciduous tree over 40 meters high. It lives for a very long time: the life expectancy of the Canadian maple reaches 400 years. Maple prefers places well lit by the sun, or partial shade, it reproduces with the help of seeds. The bark of a young tree has a light gray or light brown hue, over the years it begins to darken.

Maple has powerful roots, the older the tree, the more powerful and branched its root system becomes.

Maple has a dense spreading crown. The leaves are simple, on the branches they are arranged oppositely. The leaf plates have a characteristic curly shape, they look especially beautiful and unusual in the shade when the leaf acquires a rich red or yellow hue. The tree is deciduous, in the autumn months it completely sheds its leaves.

The tree blooms in spring: small yellow-green flowers appear on the branches, collected in clusters. The fruit of the plant is a lionfish, each lionfish contains 2 seeds. Most trees are dioecious, with both male and female flowers on the same plant. The sugar maple got its name from its ability to produce sweet maple sap, from which maple syrup and sugar are made.

Varieties

Several types of Canadian maple are widespread in North America and European Russia:

  • Red Canadian Maple. It differs from other varieties by a special reddish color of the leaves, this tree looks especially beautiful in the autumn months. The leaves are small, their length reaches 11 cm, they are divided into 5 pointed lobes. In spring, small flowers up to 5 mm in diameter appear on the branches, collected in inflorescences. The tree has an elliptical or pyramidal crown, it grows quite quickly and looks beautiful when planting trees on the sides of the alleys.
  • Silver Canadian Maple. It is widely distributed in North America, but it is also found in Russia. A distinctive feature is the color of the leaves: they are dark green on top, and the underside has a beautiful silver tint and a velvety surface. The height of the tree reaches 30-40 meters, the width of the crown is up to 20 meters. Due to its spectacular silvery crown, it is often used in the design of gardens and parks.
  • Maple Laciniatum Vieri is a short tree, its height does not exceed 15 meters. The tree has a wide asymmetrical crown, thin openwork leaves are divided into 5 lobes. When blooming, the leaves have a pleasant pinkish tint, in summer the upper side of the leaf is green, the lower side is silver. In the autumn months before leaf fall, the leaves take on a delicate lemon hue.
  • Bonsai is a special kind of maple that can hardly be called a separate botanical species. This is a miniature tree grown in a pot using a special technology, it is the Canadian maple that is often used for growing in the bonsai technique. The tree blooms beautifully, and the richness of the shades of the leaves in autumn makes it one of the main decorations of the house. Maple is often called the king of bonsai - the tree will require complex care, but the result will justify all efforts.

Any variety of maple can be used as a garden decoration, but the tree needs enough room to grow. It is advisable to plant it in a place with the most suitable conditions to ensure good growth.

Planting

Canadian maple seedlings are easy to plant and grow in your own area: annual shoots are most often used for planting. They must be placed in containers with loose soil for the rapid development of the root system. During the period of growth of seedlings, they must be regularly watered, complex mineral fertilizers are applied to the soil.

As soon as the young plant has gained enough strength, the seedling is transplanted into the open ground on the site.

Before planting the sugar maple, the seedlings are first accustomed to open air. To do this, they must be taken outside for a few minutes, gradually increasing the time spent outdoors. A pit with a diameter of 50 cm is prepared for planting, the seedling is placed in it so that the trunk is immersed in the soil by no more than 5 cm. After planting, the tree requires abundant watering - 15 liters of water will be required per pit.

When planting several maple seedlings, future growth of the crown must be taken into account. The distance between seedlings should be at least 3-5 meters. The sugar maple grows quite slowly, but very soon it becomes a decoration of the site.

Maple growing conditions

The sugar maple is one of the most hardy trees, so it does not require any complex care. Despite the fact that he prefers open places, he is able to grow well in partial shade, and also tolerates shade quite calmly. This is a frost-resistant tree, it can tolerate temperatures down to -40 degrees.

However, in order to form a beautiful crown of a healthy tree, it is better to take care of several important conditions for growing sugar maple:

  • Annual seedlings can freeze in the middle zone, so it is advisable to keep them indoors during the first year, gradually preparing them for transplanting. In the first years after planting, it is advisable to wrap young seedlings in order to prevent freezing of the roots.
  • Sugar maple does not like windswept hills: this variety of maple has brittle branches that break easily in strong winds. It is best to choose a protected place for it, isolated from strong gusts.
  • Sugar maple grows in moist soil, but it must be well drained. Stagnation of moisture in the soil can lead to root rot.
  • Seedlings require moderate watering with regular fertilizing with mineral fertilizers. Stronger trees require additional watering only in dry years with insufficient rainfall.

Sugar maple is propagated not only by seeds, but also by cuttings; in nature, the tree is also propagated by root offspring and stump shoots. The percentage of rooting cuttings is relatively small, they are used if it is not possible to obtain seed material. Another breeding option is air layering: they are treated with a root formation stimulator to get a new root system.

Application of sugar maple

Scope of application:

  1. Canadian maple has a valuable wood, its strength even exceeds that of oak wood. It has a wide variety of uses, including furniture, flooring and plywood, as well as a variety of household items and sports equipment.
  2. One of the most sought-after applications is the production of valuable maple parquet, which has a particularly beautiful shade. Light wood has a pleasant sheen, it is well varnished and other types of finishing materials. At the same time, it is difficult to scratch it, it is resistant to various mechanical damage. At the same time, it is better not to use it where you need to hammer nails or screw in screws: it is difficult to work with carpentry tools with dense wood.
  3. Another use is for maple sap, which is widely used in cooking. Maple sugar is an important component of many culinary masterpieces, it is used not only in Canadian but also in European cuisine. Breeders in many countries breed varieties that give the greatest amount of juice.
  4. One of the main uses of Canadian (sugar) maple is landscaping. The tree is actively grown in parks and gardens, it is used in the design of plots, planted in alleys, etc. In autumn, the leaves acquire the widest range of shades, their beauty will not leave anyone indifferent. However, it also has a drawback - relatively slow growth. Old trees with a lush spreading crown and already darkened bark look really great.

It is no coincidence that the Canadian maple has become one of the main symbols of the country - this tree looks great and is very undemanding to care for.


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