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Posted on October 6th, 2022 in Forestry, How To, Plants, Woodlands | No Comments »

Each week, the Intro to Trees of Indiana web series will offer a sneak peek at one species from the book, paired with an ID That Tree video from Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee to help visualize each species as it stands in the woods. Threats to species health as well as also insight into the wood provided by the species, will be provided through additional resources as well as the Hardwoods of the Central Midwest exhibit of the Purdue Arboretum, if available.

This week, we introduce the sugar maple or Acer saccharum.Drawing of Sugar maple leaf

This tree, also called hard maple, has simple leaves typically with five lobes, two smaller lobes at the base and three larger lobes at the top, with u-shaped sinuses between the lobes. The shade-tolerant species has opposite leaf arrangement with relatively long leaf stems as well as opposite branch arrangement. The thin twigs are green in their youth, turning to a medium brown as they age. The leaves produce brilliant fall colors ranging from yellow to burnt orange.

The bark of sugar maple typically has a light to medium gray color, but its appearance is variable and somewhat confusing. It can range from relatively smooth on saplings to minor crevices and ridging on medium sized trees to deeper ridges on older trees.

The seed or fruit of sugar maple is a winged seed which occurs in pairs and turned from green to brown when mature.

Sugar maples grow 60 to 75 feet tall and can be 40 to 50 feet wide, providing excellent shade with their full foliage.

Sugar maples produce maple sap, which can be used to make maple syrup. The yield of sugar maples is one of the highest among maple trees. The Morton Arboretum warns again pruning maps in the spring as they are ‘bleeders’ and will lose large amounts of sap. This species also is susceptible to leaf scorch, verticillium wilt, tar spot and anthracnose and can be affected by borers and cottony maple scale.

For full article with additional photos view: Intro to Trees of Indiana: Sugar Maple

If you have any questions regarding wildlife, trees, forest management, wood products, natural resource planning or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Other Resources:
Hardwoods of the Central Midwest: Sugar Maple
Hardwood Lumber and Veneer Series: Sugar Maple
Morton Arboretum: Sugar Maple
Sugar Maple, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue Fort Wayne
Fifty Trees of the Midwest app for the iPhone, The Education Store
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
ID That Tree, Purdue Extension-Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube playlist
Woodland Management Moment , Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube playlist

Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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