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Silver Maple

Acer saccharinum (A-sir sah-kar-RINE-um)

Aceraceae (Maple Family)

Deciduous shade tree

HEIGHT: 40 to 80 feet

SPREAD: 20 to 30 feet

FINAL SPACING: Do not plant

NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE: Its most common habitat are the nurseries that sell junk trees.

IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION: Upright to spreading tree that tends to have slender drooping branches and a relatively open overall character.

FLOWERS AND FRUIT: Flowers show before the leaves in the spring, are greenish yellow and not very pretty. Fruit (samaras or winged seed) ripens when the leaves are almost mature.

BARK: Smooth when young but gray and breaks into loose flakes with age

FOLIAGE: Leaves are opposite, simple, deciduous and weak yellow in fall color.

CULTURE: This is an easy tree to plant and grow for a few years, before the problems start.

The one stem that’s full of decay looks dead and should be removed.

PROBLEMS: Silver maple is an extremely short lived tree, has weak wood and is subject to many insect and disease problems which result from the fact that this tree is an unhealthy, lousy tree. I get more calls about problems on this tree than probably any other. Close seconds would include Siberian elm, fruitless mulberry, mimosa and poplars. Other problems include chlorosis, borers, cotton root rot.

PROPAGATION: Not a good idea.

INSIGHT: Try to pick a better quality tree.

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