Maple trees are large, deciduous trees which are popularly cultivated in parklands and on sidewalks to add beauty and shade to the landscape. These trees are often associated with North America, where many of them grow natively. Here we look at the typical lifespan of various Maple trees, and how you can encourage them to live for longer.
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What is the Average Lifespan of a Maple Tree?
There are a number of different types of Maple trees, such as the Red Maple, the Japanese Maple, the Norway Maple, the Sugar Maple, and the Silver Maple.
Each different species has a different life expectancy, and this can also vary drastically depending on whether the tree is grown in the wild or if it is cultivated, and you will also need to factor in the conditions, the tree is being grown in.
These points make it difficult to narrow down the average lifespan of the Maple tree, though you should expect any type of Maple grown in your garden to live for a minimum of 30 years.
Some types of Maple trees can live for many centuries, with some exceeding 400 years in age. On average, a typical Maple tree will live for around 100 years. If you want an especially long-lived Maple tree, then opt for the Sugar Maple, which is believed to be the longest living type of Maple.
How Long Does the Silver Maple Live?
The Silver Maple tree (Acer saccharinum) is native to Canada and the United States, and it is one of the most commonly found trees across the United States. The Silver Maple tree has a vigorous growth habit, and will quickly reach an average height of around 80 feet, though in certain circumstances, it has been known to exceed 130 feet. Growing at between 2 and 3 feet per year, an average 10 year old Silver Maple will stand at around 25 feet tall.
The tree is deciduous and is known for its broad five-lobed leaves, which are green through spring and summer, and fade to a dull yellow in the fall before dropping. Unlike many other types of Maple trees, the Silver Maple does not put on a particularly vivid autumnal display of color, and it tends to shed its foliage sooner than other Maples.
The Silver Maple is highly adaptable to a variety of climates and conditions and has been successfully cultivated across the world, from the Mediterranean region to Norway, Alaska, and Brazil. It grows best in full sun or partial shade in soils that drain well and are not allowed to dry out. The lifespan of this tree will depend on its growing conditions. When grown in its native habitat, it has a life expectancy of around 130 years; however, when cultivated in urban areas, it is more likely to live to around 80 years.
How Long Does the Sugar Maple Live?
The Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) is known for its brightly colored fall foliage, being a producer of maple syrup, and as a symbol of Canadian heritage. The tree is native to eastern North America and typically grows to around 100 feet in height. This is a deciduous tree that produces foliage typically spanning around 8 inches in width. The lobed leaves are a fresh shade of green through summer and develop to an array of orange, red, and yellow shades in the fall.
The foliage changes color at an uneven rate, which means the tree can often be seen with a variety of leaves in different colors all at one time. The Sugar Maple thrives in well-draining soils with an even moisture content. They do not do well in waterlogged soils or dry soils. When it comes to light exposure, these trees are very adaptable.
They can grow in both full sun and both shade and in fact, are known as one of the most shade tolerant or all large deciduous tree species. Typically the Sugar Maple will live to around 200 years, making it a long-lived tree. Some Sugar Maple trees will live to more than 300 years, such as the ‘Comfort Maple’ in Canada, which is believed to be approximately 540 years old.
This is a Sugar Maple growing in Niagara, Ontario, and has been affectionately named after the Comfort family, who previously owned the land where the tree is situated. The tree is the oldest and largest Sugar Maple in Canada, standing at a height of 100 feet with a trunk circumference of 20 feet.
How Long Does the Red Maple Live?
The Red Maple (Acer Rubrum) is native to North America and is so-called because of the tiny red flower clusters it produces in spring and the vivid shade of red the leaves take on in fall before they drop to the ground. This is one of the more adaptable Maple trees, which will thrive in a wide range of conditions.
It is found growing natively in swampland as well as in dry soils and every type of soil in between, making it suitable for growing in an extensive area range. The Red Maple will live for a maximum of around 150 years, but more typically it does not exceed 80 years. This is often due to the fact that the tree is quite weak and vulnerable. It sustains damage easily from a range of factors, including storms and animals. The smallest amount of damage to the trunk or branches can allow the fungus to penetrate into the heart of the tree and cause rot, which is usually fatal. Red Maple trees can also die as a result of too little light.
How To Keep Maple Trees Healthy
To help ensure your maple tree stands the test of time, you should care for it accordingly. Understanding the type of maple tree you have and getting to grips with its care requirements will go a long way to keeping the tree healthy and giving it the best chance of living for a long time.
Maple trees can vary greatly in the amount of moisture they require. The Red Maple will thrive in soils that are dry, wet, and anything in between. By contrast, the Sugar Maple needs moderate moisture and will struggle to survive in soils that are too dry or too wet.
Correct planting in a position that gets your tree enough light will help to keep it growing well. Most types of Maple trees will thrive in full sun or dappled shade, however, some types of Maple, such as the Sugar Maple, can be grown in full shade.
The type of soil your Maple tree is grown in is going to affect its ability to thrive. Most types of Maple will grow in soil with a neutral pH, though slightly acidic soil is often preferred. Give your Maple tree the best chance at a long life by planting it in loamy, well-draining soil. Some types of Maple will tolerate sandy or clay soils, but this is not common.
Keep an eye on your Maple tree for pest infestations, as these can lead to serious issues and even death for some trees. Any infestations should be dealt with immediately to increase the chances of survival.