Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Silver Maple
Give a thumbs up Soft Maple
Give a thumbs up River Maple
Give a thumbs up Silverleaf Maple
Give a thumbs up White Maple
Give a thumbs up Maple

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Very strongly acid (4.5 – 5.0)
Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 50-80 feet (fast-growing)
Plant Spread: 35-70 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Other: Deeply 5-lobed light green leaves (to 6 across) have silvery undersides. Fall color is usually unremarkable.
Fruit: Other: Female flowers develop into pairs of samaras (seeds with long wings), which are eaten by many birds and mammals
Fruiting Time: Late spring or early summer
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Flower Color: Green
Other: Greenish yellow to red
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late winter or early spring
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Water gardens
Useful for timber production
Edible Parts: Sap
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Other info: Seed will die if it dries out. Sow immediately in moist soil. Germinates quickly.
Pollinators: Wind
Miscellaneous: Monoecious


The Top 25 Water Garden Plants, Selected by ATP MembersThe Top 25 Water Garden Plants, Selected by ATP Members
March 15, 2014

Here's a report of the most popular water garden plants from our database!

(Full article14 comments)
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Posted by Frillylily (springfield MO area - Zone 6a) on Jul 22, 2016 11:06 AM

VERY invasive roots that grow vigorously. We had one that rooted up into the neighbors' garage floor and buckled the concrete. It would root up in my foundation plantings about 40 ft away from the tree. They grow to be HUGE and have very soft wood that breaks off in whole sections during high wind. Ours had a huge limb fall onto the neighbors car one time. (This was a shared tree with them in the property line that their grandfather had planted about 25 yrs prior to us living there.) Very pretty fall color, fast growing, birds loved it and it is drought tolerant. Seeds of the tree we had sprouted all over in my flower beds and around the lawn. Not recommended for small yards, or around sidewalks or driveways or any water lines due to its invasive roots.

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Posted by Skiekitty (Denver Metro - Zone 5a) on Apr 4, 2012 9:23 AM

VERY soft wooded tree. Does not withstand high winds. If branches are broken in the late fall/winter/extreme early spring, the tree will "bleed" sap very profusely. This is not a sugar maple & is not suitable for making maple syrup. Tolerates extremes in temperature, once established tolerates drought. Very fast growing, so used a lot in urban settings (which it is NOT suitable for due to the brittle branches & the sappiness). Also drops lots of "berries" which is VERY messy & annoying. The berries (not the samaras, but something in between, not sure) are not sticky, but are produced in huge amounts. This is an important lumber tree.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 13, 2017 3:30 PM

Because the Silver (Soft) Maple is weak-wooded and grows so large, it is not recommended for the residential yard. It is a very common tree growing along rivers and in bottomlands in eastern North America, from southeast Canada to northwest Florida to eastern Kansas up to central Minnesota. It is fast growing of about 2 to 3 feet/year and lives about 100 years. I lived near a specimen for a few years that had very yellow leaves, showing magnesium chlorosis in higher pH soil, probably above 7.5 or so. My mother bought a 'Silver Queen' cultivar from a nursery in the 1960's in the Chicago area, and it is still doing fine in the front yard in 2017, and has not broken or gotten too big there. Most nurseries don't sell this species anymore, which is wise. It would be alright for a large park or commercial property, but it is not a really great tree for horticulture. There are some hybrid Red x Silver Maples (Freeman Maples) that are better for landscaping.

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Plant Events from our members
christine2 On November 1, 2010 Obtained plant
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Discussion Threads about this plant
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Japanese maple forum by ediblelandscapingsc Sep 4, 2018 6:12 PM 126
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Tree and shrub identification by Lblair Mar 3, 2018 9:01 PM 10
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What is this tree? by Safroniabee Apr 30, 2017 4:06 PM 6
Tree and plant ID, West Tennessee by Booster Feb 3, 2017 12:17 PM 5
West Tenn tree by Booster Jan 28, 2017 7:35 PM 1
Confusion re cultivars and hybrids by Bonehead Sep 20, 2016 9:31 AM 11
Old Maple Tree is in Trouble?! by amccallum Jul 20, 2016 8:51 PM 8
Silver maple seedling giveaway by LysmachiaMoon Aug 19, 2016 9:19 PM 3

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