Sugar maple, sometimes called hard maple or rock maple, is actually Acer saccharum. It is native to the hardwood forests of eastern North America, from Nova Scotia to Ontario in the north and Georgia to Texas in the south. It is one of the largest and most important of the hardwoods and the major source of sap for making maple syrup. Additionally the wood is sone of the hardest and densest of the maples, prized for furniture and flooring. And trees with a wavy wood grain are especially valuable. This pattern is known as "birdseye maple". It is also widely used in the manufacture of musical instruments, such as violins, guitars and drum shells. But Sugar maple is also a landscape standout of surpassing beauty. It has excellent form, being full and rounded, with a medium texture. And under optimal circumstances, it can grow at a moderately fast pace. Its medium to dark-green leaves are handsome all summer long but in autumn, they turn brilliant yellow, burnt orange and red. And it is this flaming display that makes the Sugar maple the preeminent star of New England's foliage tours.

Since it grows to 80 feet with a spread of 50 feet, it is not suited to many of today's smaller lots. But for those with the space, it is a must-have tree, whether it's used as a specimen or shade tree. It likes good, fertile soil, moist but with good drainage. In the warmer regions it may benefit from some afternoon shade and it is intolerant of drought unless planted in a large open area.

Sugar maple succeeds throughout most of North America as well as New Zealand and the UK, and the coolest bits of Australia.


Sugar maple

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