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Silver MapleAcer saccharinum

  • Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum
  • Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum
  • Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum

Silver is definitely the right word to describe this maple. With even a light wind, the tree produces a lovely shimmery effect thanks to the silvery undersides of its leaves. The bark, too, is silver in color, particularly when the tree is young. But believe it or not, the lovely silvery nature of this tree is not its biggest draw.

Fast growth has become the name of the game in the world of landscaping, and the silver maple is a champ in this department. If you have the space to accommodate its large size and wide-spreading root system, you’ll be rewarded with quick shade.

Hardiness Zones

The silver maple can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–9. View Map

Tree Type

This is a shade tree, featuring a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight.

Mature Size

The silver maple grows to a height of 50–80' and a spread of 35–50' at maturity.

Growth Speed Fast Growth Rate

This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The silver maple grows in a wide range of soil types but prefers deep, moist, acidic soil. It can withstand some flooding and has moderate drought tolerance.


This tree:
  • Grows very quickly, providing shade earlier than most trees.
  • Features 3–6" leaves with 5 lobes separated by notably deep, narrow sinuses. Green on top and silvery underneath through spring and summer, they turn a pale yellow in the fall.
  • Produces red, yellow and silver clusters of small flowers in early spring.
  • Yields pairs of winged seed over 3" long that ripen in late spring. They are the largest seeds of all native maples.
  • Grows in a vase shape.
  • Has a wide-spreading root system and a trunk that can become quite massive. It is best to plant the tree away from sidewalks, foundations and sewer lines.
  • Can be prone to limb breakage.

Wildlife Value

The silver maple’s buds are eaten by squirrels in early spring. It also provides nesting sites for ducks and other birds. Beavers find the trees delicious.


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 trees were a staple in many new towns and homesteads on the frontier because of their rapid growth (for quick shade) and ability to adapt to a variety of soil conditions.