Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum Attributes: The Silver Maple takes it's name from the silvery-white undersides of the leaves that tend to shimmer and dance in the slightest breeze. Other attributes that make it a popular tree are it's tolerance to urban conditions such as poor and compacted soil, hot, dry conditions, and air pollution. It is also popular due to it's rapid growth.
Description: Very fast-growing. Leaves are green on top and silvery-white on the underside, shimmering and dancing in the breeze. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Because of a vigorous root system, plant 10' or more from sidewalks, drives, foundations, and sewer lines. Grows to 50' to 80'with spread 2/3 of height to wider than the tree is tall.
Wildlife Value: The buds of the Silver Maple are eaten by squirrels in early spring. It also provides nesting sites for ducks and other birds. Beavers find the trees delicious.
History/Lore/Use: Early settlers in the Ohio Valley found the sap from the Silver Maple to be superior to other Maple trees for sugar quality but production was too slow for commercial purposes. The tree has always been a delight to forest-watchers as the slightest breeze will turn the tree into a shimmering silver-green color display and the bark has a silver look to it in the winter that contrasts nicely with snow.
Moisture: Wide range of moisture conditions. Can withstand some flooding and has moderate drought tolerance.
Leaves: Leaves are opposite on twigs, 3 to 6 inches in both length and width, with 5 lobes separated by notably deep, narrow sinuses. Green on top and silver-green on the bottom.
Flower Color: The bloom is yellow-red.
Bloom Time: Early to mid-March.
The fruit is elongated, 1-2 inches long, green to brown in color.