Leaves. Sugar Maple leaves
are serrated 3 to 5 lobed, 3-5 inch leaves that are smooth with
a waxy but not shiny surface, varying from a bright, light
yellow green to medium or deep green above, pale, and fine-hairy
on the veins beneath. Sugars seem to develop their best color in
the colder areas from Minnesota to Maine.
Flowers. The flowers on a
sugar maple form March to May depending on how far south one is,
and are greenish yellow, budding with the leaves. There are
times in the spring especially after a rain where the roadways
are littered with the fallen flowers of the maple families,
especially the silver but also the sugar maple.
Fruit. Sugar maple
seed pods form in the fall and can be a nuisance. The seed pods
sometimes called samurai are 1.5" and fall from the tree like
little helicopter rotors.
Winter Buds. The buds are
small, pointed, acute, about 1/4 inch long and reddish-brown.
Bark. The twigs on sugar
maple are smooth, light brown becoming darker and deeply
furrowed, shaggy with long plates and flaky with age.
Wood. The wood of the
sugar maple is heavy, very hard, strong and close grained,
capable of taking on a lustrous shine; it is pale buff white
pale brown buff, and weighs 43 pounds per cubic foot. Abnormal
conditions of growth cause the sugar maple to produce the
irregular and interrupted grain known as curled and bird's eye
Maple. As a youth with my first chainsaw I cut into a maple that
was curled, not realizing I had a valuable tree. Splitting the
wood was nearly impossible by hand and a lesson was learned.
Sugar Maple is used for cabinet work, flooring, interior finish
and firewood. It is not suitable for moist environments as my
father-in-law could testify. He attempted to use kiln dried
maple on the deck of his cabin cruiser to save big bucks over
mahogany. Within a week on the water it had curled up and had to
be removed. He then bought the mahogany.
Pests. In the last forty
years there has been a persistent problem called maple decline.
No one yet has been able to identify exactly what the cause is.
It seems to be more prevalent in an urban environment. It hasn't
seemed to have gotten worse or better over that time frame. Leaf
scorch can be a problem during hot, dry periods.
Sugar Maple is native to the following
places: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois,
Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire,
New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia.
This is one of the top trees to plant for fall color as Sugar maples
produce vivid red, orange and yellows in the fall and also is an excellent shade
and lumber tree. Sugar
Maple attains 70-125 ' in height and up to 5' in diameter. and is hardy from zone 4-8. Sugar Maple is a
slow to medium grower somewhat faster than a Norway Maple with a growth rate of
8-24" per year depending on conditions. These are the Sugar
Maple that produce the sap in the spring for Maple syrup. The sugar -yielding
properties of the Maples were known to the Indians even before
colonial America. Porcupine Hollow has had a sugar shack
producing Maple syrup for over 20 years. When the days start to
warm above freezing ad the nights cool to the low 20's we are
out burning sap. We still tap a few Sugar Maples using buckets
but most sap is collected by piping sap directly from the tree
to the shack. The maple sap is heated to 219 degree boiling
point to make the most tasty syrup one can imagine. It takes
about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. Generally
speaking sugar maples do not yield sap south of Virginia.
1. Green Mountain
has a very dark green, glossy, waxy leaf suitable for more
2. Apollo is a shorter
(25') sugar maple with a compact, narrow form. Good color and
great for street or urban garden. Good for zone 4-7.
3. The fall fiesta
is a superior fast growing sugar maple to 50', resists sun scald
and frost crack. Outstanding fall color, far more reds and
oranges than other sugars. Zones 4-7.
4. Black Sugar Maple also
known as Acer nigrum is similar to sugar maple and awful hard to
tell apart, but is noted for its great drought and heat
resistance. A beautiful tree for the southern areas. Zone 4-8.
We still have plenty of the
cultivars left. We sell Sugar Maple seedlings wholesale and retail.
There are quite a few subspecies
that are related: Southern Sugar Maple, Rocky Mountain Maple,
Western Sugar Maple, Chalkbark Maple, Boxelder and Black Maple.