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Maple Trees

Maples in the Landscape

Elton M. Smith

Maples are among the most desirable of deciduous trees for landscape purposes. They are used extensively for street tree plantings, shade purposes and seasonal foliage color. Some species such as Norway and red maples have attractive flowers, while others such as the paperbark maple are characterized by interesting bark features.

Maple Trees


Certain species such as red and silver maple thrive in fairly moist soils, while sugar maple grows best in well-drained soils. Most maples do well in a fairly wide soil pH range. Generally, maples are easy to transplant and can be moved most any time of year. Pruning can be done at any time with early spring preferred; however, sugar maple, among others, will "bleed" extensively. When collected by tapping, this sugary solution is used for syrup and other maple products.

Certain insects can be troublesome, including aphids on Norway maple, leaf hopper on hedge maple and scale insects on several species. All can be controlled with insecticides applied at the proper time.

Pruning and fertilization may help to control the disease verticillium wilt of the Norway maple.

Landscape Use

Because the mature height varies from the 8 feet of certain Japanese maples to nearly 100 feet of the sugar and silver maples, considerable range exists in landscape use. Most are extremely hardy in Ohio and can be located in exposed sites with the exception of a number of the Japanese maples, which require some protection. The small maples such as trident, hedge, amur, paperbark and tatarian, which mature from 20 to 30 feet, are used in corner plantings, as street trees, in lawn plantings and as specimens. The larger species, including Norway, red and sugar, are used in parks, on golf courses, along streets and for shade. Norway maple seems to thrive in city conditions. Silver maple is the fastest growing and least expensive maple; however, it is weakwooded and is easily damaged during storms. Roots of silver maple have caused problems with tile drainage, leach fields and sidewalks, and for these and other reasons the landscape use of this maple is limited to areas where these problems will not be of concern to the homeowner.




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