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 10a
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
Will Naturalize
Useful for timber production
Edible Parts: Sap
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds
Needs specific temperature: can germinate in a wide range of temperatures, but prefers 70F
Other info: Seed will die if it dries out. Sow immediately in moist soil. Germinates quickly.
Pollinators: Wind
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

Common names
  • Silver Maple
  • Soft Maple
  • River Maple
  • Silverleaf Maple
  • White Maple
  • Maple

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  • Posted by Skiekitty (Denver Metro - Zone 5a) on Apr 4, 2012 9:23 AM concerning plant:
    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.
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 13, 2017 3:30 PM concerning plant:
    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. It drops some twigs and small branches and produces lots of large samaras ( winged seeds) in early summer. 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 2019, and has not really had any bad damage; though it has gotten bigger there and may eventually pose some danger as it gets old. 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 residential landscaping. Some cheap mail order nurseries still sell some, and some special native plant nurseries grow some for conservational purposes in natural parks and wildlands. There are some hybrid Red x Silver Maples (Freeman Maples) that are better for landscaping.
Plant Events from our members
christine2 On November 1, 2010 Obtained plant
WebTucker On March 27, 2022 Bloomed
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