Everything You Need To Know About the Types of Maple Trees
With brilliant foliage and over 100 varieties, maple trees are some of the most common choices for property landscaping. With that in mind, identifying the different cultivars can be challenging, and choosing the right one for your property isn’t always straightforward. Explore everything you need to know about the types of maple trees, including some fun facts and ways to identify some of the varieties.
Maple Tree Fun Facts
Most people probably don’t think too much about maple trees, but the numerous varieties harbor centuries of history and unmatched beauty. Exploring a few fun facts about maple trees might give you a newfound appreciation for these robust trees.
Most Varieties Are Deciduous
Although a few maple varieties are evergreens, most of them are deciduous, meaning they lose their foliage and become dormant for the winter. Deciduous trees are the reason you have to rake your yard in the fall, but the gorgeous colors make it all worth it.
They Can Live up to 400 Years!
Interestingly, maple tree species have been around for millions of years, and some maples can live to be 400 years old. However, the average life span of a maple tree lies anywhere between 100 and 400 years with ideal growing conditions.
They’re the National Tree of Canada
Because the maple tree is a common symbol of strength and endurance, Canada chose it as its national tree. In fact, the country’s coat of arms and flag both feature maple leaves.
Maple Wood Is a Tonewood
The wood from maple trees is tonewood, meaning it’s excellent at carrying sound waves. For this reason, many manufacturers make musical instruments out of maple wood. In fact, most violins, violas, cellos, double basses, guitar necks, and drums incorporate maple wood in their construction.
They’re Important for Honeybees
Believe it or not, maple trees are crucial for honeybees. Honeybees are the most prevalent pollinators in the world, and they’re responsible for pollinating many of the crops on which we rely to survive. Maple trees provide honeybees with significant pollen sources in the early spring; therefore, when you buy maple trees online and plant them on your property, you help the local bees.
Maple Syrup, of Course!
The syrup you use to sweeten your pancakes or waffles is actually the result of boiling the sap from maple trees. Although most syrups from the grocery store include added sugars and other ingredients, pure maple syrup is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Common Maple Varieties
With over 100 varieties of maples, choosing the best maple tree for your property can be tough. But if they’re popular, they must be reliable! Read on to explore some of the most common maple varieties.
Sugar Maple Trees
Sugar maple trees are the best options for shade, as they can grow up to 75 feet tall, with rounded canopies. Most people love their deep fall colors and their adaptability to various climates and growing conditions. Interestingly, sugar maples are native to Michigan, as they thrive in hardiness zones 3 through 8.
Japanese Maple Trees
Cascading Japanese maple trees make for stunning scenery, and many people use them as accents or focal points for their landscaping. Their foliage colors range from green or orange to purple or deep maroon, and the color typically changes throughout the growing season.
Autumn Blaze Maple Trees
Autumn blaze maples are fast-growing, ornamental trees with breathtaking fall-colored foliage. Fascinatingly, the leaves are slightly red in the spring, green in the summer, and yellow-red in the fall. Autumn blaze maple trees are fantastic for extra shade, providing you with an ideal spot to lounge in the summer months.
Maple Tree Identification
There’s a chance you already have some maple trees on your property. To determine which variety you have on your property, look at leaf shape, bark, and fruit.
Most maple leaves are simple, with multiple lobes and veins originating from the center point. However, you can determine the exact cultivar by looking more closely at the leaves’ details:
- Fuzzy: If the underside of the leave has a soft, white coating, you most likely have a silver maple on your hands.
- Rough-toothed: Red maples tend to have smaller leaves than other varieties, and their leaves’ most common traits are rough edges. If your tree has leaves with serrated edges, it’s most certainly a red maple tree.
- Deep-lobed: Japanese maple trees have leaves with very distinct, deep lobes, and you might mistake them for compound lobes. However, you can identify a Japanese maple because the lobes still originate from a single point on the leaf.
Identifying maples and other deciduous trees during the winter months can be extremely difficult because their leaves have fallen off. However, closely examining the bark for these specific traits can aid you in maple tree identification:
- Gray and flaky: This usually indicates a silver maple, but you may have to examine the leaves to be certain.
- Narrow ridges: Red maples, Norway maples, and box elder maples have this trait in common; however, red maple bark is usually dark brown, while box elder and Norway barks are more gray.
- Wide strips: Sugar maple trees have gray-brown bark with wide strips that curl on the edges.
- Smooth and red: You probably have a paperbark maple if you see smooth, red bark.
Although you might be asking yourself what fruit comes from a maple tree, you must remember that not all fruit looks the same. As a child, you probably called them whirlybirds or helicopters, but the technical name of the fruit that comes from a maple tree is samara. A samara is a covered seed connected to a flat, wing-like, papery tissue; it swirls and flies as it falls from the tree.
Now that you have everything you need to know about the types of maple trees, you can go forth and identify the ones you already have on your property or decide which type to plant next. Maple trees live long lives, and they’re beneficial for you, your family, the environment, and even honeybees. You won’t find much about your maple trees to complain about, and you won’t regret planting them on your property.