Silver Maple Acer saccharinum
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ACER SACCHARINUM - Silver Maple
Growing to a mature height of 25m (80ft) this large, fast-growing tree is often found in parks and in large estates. The silver undersides to the classic maple shaped leaves make the tree appear white in windy weather. It has a good autumn colour display of rich gold/yellow. In its native North America the autumn colour can range from yellow and orange through to deep red, sadly due to the different climate here in the UK we virtually never see the full spectrum of colours.
Where to grow
A good tree for urban sites as it tolerates pollution well, though due to its brittle branches it is not so good in exposed sites. It will grow in all but the worst soil and will do well in damp ground. Due to its large stature it needs a lot of space to grow and is not a good choice if space is limited.
Did you know?
The leaf on the Canadian flag is thought to be a silhouette of the leaf of this tree, as it is so common in their landscape. In its native habitat the autumn colour can even be the same vibrant red colour, though sadly we never get to see this here in the UK where our warmer autumn leads to the leaves turning yellow/gold. If you want a vibrant red maple in Britain the best is Acer freemanii Autumn Blaze.
- Mature height
- Very Large - 20 metres+
- 15-20 meters
- Broad headed
- Growth rate
- Very Fast
- Soil type
- Light sandy
- Sun levels
- Full sun
- Difficulty/hard to grow
- Season of interest
- Autumn colour
- Large Leaves
- Parkland Tree
- City/Urban Sites
Pruning Acer Saccharinum
Once established, Acer saccharinum should only be pruned if necessary. It doesn’t respond well to heavy pruning, so if you are pruning, only remove the young growth.
Remove diseased areas and damaged stems immediately to limit the possibility of further damage. Make a clean cut that is flush with the main stem.
What time of year should I prune? Prune in winter (November to January) when the plant is dormant. Acers will bleed sap if pruned too early
For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.
The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water. It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree. In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.
One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass. When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree. It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one metre wide completely free of grass. The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:
- Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup. Apply each year for the first 3 years. It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
- Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this. This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.
Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem. Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.
If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree. Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm. The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots. Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.
Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.
- 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
- 100/125, 125/150 1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
- 150/175 1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
- 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
- All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.
Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping. These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens. Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.
Protection from Animal Damage
Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees. Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge. Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.