Hardiness: USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F) USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F) USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F) USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F) USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F) USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F) USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade
Bloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Mid Spring
Foliage: Grown for foliage Deciduous
Other details: Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
I have lived in my home for almost 30 years now, there were 2 of these trees in my front yard and one large one in my neighbor's yard, making 3 trees in a row. We removed the middle tree because it was being crowded out. The remaining trees are just huge and every spring, thousands of those horrible 'helicopters' carpet my lawn. They invade my flower beds and in windy Oklahoma, have begun to fill my backyard too. I try to mow over them with a mulcher but that doesn't work as they seem to pack down pretty well and this year was so bad I raked up 3 full-sized lawn and leaf bags and I still have them everywhere. They are starting to hinder my grass growth and I just want to remove the tree but I know my neighbor's tree will just continue to dump in my yard. The branches break off easily in the wind and I always have to pick up the sticks before I mow. Bad tree!
On Apr 26, 2011, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:
We have an enormous spreading specimen on our small city lot. It shades most of the yard, so we can't grow sun-loving plants in most of the backyard, but it has beautiful red flowers, which often bloom in March, when not even bulbs bloom. It strews dead branches all over our yard. The seeds aren't too much trouble, since our soil is too dry most years for them to survive, and the squirrels eat most of them.
On Oct 21, 2009, Andrea_F from Ottawa, ON (Zone 4a) wrote:
We inherited a 40-foot specimen of this tree in our backyard. The first year I noticed it was loaded with dead branches and the central leader was broken and starting to rot. It also had developed an unpleasant leaf disease (looked like black mold). Rather than cut it down, we hired an arborist to prune it back one November, and the following year its appearance and health had improved ten-fold. Unfortunately, regular maintenance like this would be prohibitively expensive, and I suspect the tree will have to come down within a few years anyway because of the dead central leader. But for the time being, it is a great mature tree and a good dappled shade provider for our deck and patio.
On Aug 31, 2009, franknjim from Peoria, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
BAD! Anytime you try to plant anything you end up having to chop through the fine cobweb of surface roots. The main roots lift up not only your yard but also lift driveways and sidewalks. Be careful when mowing over the large exposed roots or you can damage your mower blade/shaft. The mess from leaves, seeds and dead branches is bad. The mess left from wind, ice or snow storms leaves the trees broken and ugly. Not much good can be said for these trees.
On Jul 16, 2009, cloverlymd from Silver Spring, MD wrote:
Silver maples are highly variable and seem to perform differently in different areas of the country. Here in Maryland they become long-lived, very large trees casting a light shade. The downside is that they drop twigs and branches more than any other maple.
On May 13, 2009, HibRick from Needville, TX wrote:
I'm surprised at the many negative comments. Our small backyard has an approx. 25 year old Silver Maple that has been an attractive and easy-care tree. It has no surface roots to speak of, certainly nothing compared to nearby Ash, Oak, Pecan, or Pear trees, so I don't understand that complaint.
This tree does drop some leaves in gutters, but so does every other tree that I know of, excepting perhaps aluminum Christmas trees. We never plant any tree within 20 feet of our house, and regularly prune any overhanging branches. In hurricane country, that is only prudent.
This particular tree has never produced blooms or seeds, so I can't comment on the seedling problem. Perhaps it needs another nearby maple for pollination. However, many other nearby trees annually produce thousands of seeds & sprouts.. the lawn mower easily takes care of that.
We've never had a broken limb, despite several hurricanes. During 2008 Hurricane Ike we had 90mph+ winds for several hours.. All night long we watched the maple whip back & forth nearly to the ground. but nothing broke off other than a few twigs.
Of course all of the leaves were blown off of all trees in the Houston area. Every other nearby tree had major damage, and that debris then blew across rooftops, stripping away shingles all across the city.
The maple actually caught several broken branches from upwind trees that did not fare as well during Ike. During cleanup, I removed several large broken limbs that had blown into the maple from our neighbor's Bradford Pear and Crepe Myrtle. Without a doubt, the maple tree protected our roof and windows from considerably more damage.
Ice storms are rare here, but we have had 2 ice storms in the last 12 years, and never lost any branches from this tree. The same ice storms broke many branches on nearby Ash, Oak, Arborvitae, Crepe Myrtle, and Bradford Pear trees.
In other words, we are quite happy with the silver maple, and the upright form suits the small area it grows in. I'm currently planting quite a few of them along the fence line of some country acreage we own.
On May 11, 2009, Robertcheck from Kalamazoo, MI wrote:
We have 4 100 ft. silver maples in our yard, 2 in front, 2 in back, they are a major cleanup chore year round, getting on my neighbors lawns & roofs.
A couple questions: When we moved in 20 years ago, I could have sworn they shed the helicopter seeds every other year, & now its every year. Could this be due to the harsh winters in Michigan?
Anyone have a rough estimate what the cut down charge would be on one of them? Thank-you RMo8235376@aol.com Robert
On Apr 26, 2009, Wolfgang_E_B from Fulton, MO wrote:
This tree is a fast-growing, invasive weed with brittle wood that's prone to breakage in ice storms and high winds. It can grow 6+ feet per year if left alone, but chop down an established tree and it will put out multiple trunks that reach up to 10 feet in one season. Every spring, after the helicopters fall, hundreds of seedlings pop up everywhere. If they aren't pulled up or mowed down in the first growing season, they'll be difficult to get rid of the following year.
One of the former owners of our house thought it would be neat to plant a silver maple right beside the deck. The winter before last, we had to have the 35-year-old giant cut down after a major ice storm broke nearly every branch off of it, even big ones a foot in diameter. One of the few remaining cracked and was going to fall on the roof.
The weedy shape of this tree isn't particularly attractive. The silvery leaves do look nice from a distance, especially when they're flittering in a gentle breeze. The leaves of the trees in my area turn a muted yellow to brown in the fall.
On Jan 23, 2009, Pinyon from Prescott, AZ (Zone 7a) wrote:
I'm sort of surprised to hear so many negative comments about this tree. I suppose they're true, but they don't apply in my area. For example, my area is extremely arid even though I'm at 5,500 feet in elevation so this tree CAN'T reproduce successfully at all. It does generate a mess with the leaves it makes, but one thing I find odd is that the two 40' trees on the side of my house that are constantly exposed to the extremely harsh winds of my area (that easily tear down many other trees) haven't had any problems with breakage or anything at all. To each their own I guess, I'm satisfied with the ones I have, although I still strongly think Sugar/red/japanese maples ARE nicer though. 8)
On Apr 18, 2008, Doctor_Wu from Lewisville, TX wrote:
Bought a house last year with a Silver Maple in the back yard. It's probably 8 or 10 feet from the house (not far enough). In a storm during June of '07 it shed a rather large limb (at least 5" in diameter) and took out part of my fence.
Last week a storm blew one of the higher limbs off and it knocked lower limbs onto my roof... it must have happened slowly b/c there was very little damage to the roof (nor did we hear it). Cleaned all that mess up last weekend. This morning I was standing on the patio when I heard a quick succession of snaps and cracks... I ran. Yet another limb came down, this one on my gazebo, I was under the gazebo. No harm done to me or the gazebo, but there are still higher limbs and spring is not over!
I am very fearful of leaving this tree up. It will be coming down as soon as possible. The limbs have holes in them from being eaten by some kind of boring insect. There are areas where the bark does not cover well and the limbs appear 'wounded'. First house with trees, not a good experience with the silver maple.
On Oct 7, 2007, andre1969 from Glenn Dale, MD wrote:
I have two silver maples in my yard, and there is one across the street. I have no idea how old they are, but the one across the street is about 50 feet tall. One of mine is probably more like 60-70 feet tall, while the other has died off at the top, becoming more like a maple "bush", and is maybe 30 feet at the most. I probably shout cut it down, but I hate killing anything that still has some life in it! Also, because my house is on a gentle slope, and this tree is downhill, it actually provides a good deal of privacy, shielding my deck from the road.
On the plus side, none of these trees are not showing any exposed roots. And I do like their silvery-green color. However, none of them seem to provide much shade. They seem to have shot upward just fine, but don't really branch out much. And they do seem to drop a lot of limbs.
They do drop a lot of "helicopters" in the springtime, but I'm not concerned about that. I'm also on a fairly large lot, 4 1/4 acres, so the trees really aren't crowding anything else out.
While I do like the trees, I would have preferred something that would have spread more horizontally, providing more shade.
On Dec 17, 2006, gooley from Hawthorne, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:
Tempting to give a negative rating, but it has its place, along the banks of the Sangamon River near where i grew up (west side of Decatur, Illinois; go to what is perhaps still grandiosely called the Rock Springs Center for Environmental Discovery and take the trail along the Sangamon), casting complete shade and shedding seeds that spin down, slowly, by the thousand in the dim cathedrals it creates. Magical in late spring. Of course, if your neighbor has two big ones in his back yard that spew thousands of seeds and create hundreds of seedlings within a few weeks, or if you have to deal with big broken limbs after a thunderstorm, you might come to hate this tree deeply.
Someone has discovered and cloned a tree of this species that reliably has more sugar in its sap than sugar maple. If it's practical to raise, this tree might get another nudge towards a positive rating -- I hope to buy some and try them down here in north Florida.
On Sep 8, 2006, mxpg from Appleton, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:
Bad Bad Tree. My neighborhood is covered with them! I had 2 in the back yard when I bought my house. One I had cut down, and the second I had topped severely because branches were hanging over the house. A branch about 7" diameter fell through my shed roof durring a storm and ripped down the whole shed. I wish I had had it cut down also. Thousand of seedlings! Everywhere! Fallen branches! What a headache!
On Mar 22, 2006, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:
I noticed that a lot of writer tend to complain about its mess. This tree is fairly less messy compare to ash and burr oaks. Burr oaks are brittle and often drops branchlets while ash have so many branchlets that you wonder how their branches can handle all those branchlets. Root break can be a problem, as I have mowed over them, causing scars to develop on them and it hurts to walk on them. Also like with other maples, it is difficult to plant underneath it. Norway Maple is the worse maple! Storm damage seem to be not fussy about what tree it push over, so silver maple takes the blame because there are so many of them planted. Seedlings is a problem, and sometimes I will try to destroy the seeds as they develop on the lowermost branches. A red petiole form exist. The worse tree in storms I have noticed is spruces due to their shallow, short roots and their brittle top! Spruces tend to be blown over while nearby trees only lose a few heavy branches. There is nothing you can do about the leaves in the gutter - it is a part of life, unless you have the nearest tree at least one thousand feet away!
On Feb 10, 2006, calypsa from Plymouth, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:
I am yet another person who inherited this type of maple when we purchased our home. The previous owner planted TONS of these in the back of the lot and we have gradually been thinning them out as the urge strikes. These ones in the back are not the main problem, though they are very messy and prevent us from growing anything at all in the back 1/4 of our lot. It's the six 30-year old trees near the house that are the problem! Yes, they are gorgeous when they are not dropping propellers, limbs (some small, some over 2-inches in diameter, some short, some over 10-feet long), and leaves.
My main complaint with these trees is the awful surface roots! They strangle any other plants nearby and are a big hazard to walk near. I had shrugged them off as a nuisance until last October... When I tripped and broke my foot and was laid up for 2 months. This coming spring, one of the first things I do will be to have those surface roots ground out and the dirt leveled so this doesn't happen to anyone else in my family.
On Jan 30, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
I have to agree with all the negative posters here. The original owner of my land planted them along the road. Now I have to spend time picking up brances before I can mow the grass. Then I have to contend with the surface roots. A definite thumbs down on this tree.
Thank goodness this tree finally started showing signs of dying, as I couldn't bring myself to cut down a well shaped, healthy shade tree. This is the greediest tree I have ever had, and hardly anything would grow under it. Since it has been gone, things have really taken off. Now if only my neighbor's trees would go.
Be sure you plant something you will like as a mature tree because the quick shade is just not worth it.
On Jun 9, 2005, Gindee77 from Hampton, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
This tree grows well, fast and huge! It's messy and all kinds of branches fall even in the lightest wind. The seeds are so prolific and grow in any condition, but who needs thousands of soft maple trees. We just took down 2 old trees (they were about 30+ yrs old) that were about 40-50' tall and it was very expensive. It was getting scary whenever we had a storm and the least little bit of wind. (see photo)
On Mar 29, 2005, codetrance from Great Falls, VA wrote:
I grew up playing under a Silver Maple in Northern VA, which has a 5-6 foot wide trunk and a broad gnarly canopy that shades our patio. (probably over 150 years old) As I kid I loved running around and catching the "propellers" as they'd spin down to the ground in the fall breezes. As an adolescent I'd hide out in the branches and daydream. As a teenager I'd sneak out of the house by jumping off the porch roof and catching a branch. Even now, as an adult living elsewhere, I always look forward to spending some time under that tree when I visit the family.
Some may call it a messy 'weed' tree. But to me the weeds are a small price to pay for the character a big tree brings to an outdoor space.
On Dec 3, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
We have three silver maples planted around our patio, 2 to the east and one to the south. We planted them with the idea of having a tree canopy over the patio and providing shade. The house shades it from the west. We did not want a roof over the patio because we like the feeling of openness and we love eating lunch under the trees. They were planted 32 years ago and they are beautiful, in the winter they let the sunshine into the house, so they give us the best situation in summer and winter. Some branches have come down, mainly because the woodpeckers love to make their homes in them, but we don't mind. Some years they turn a beautiful shade of gold.
To make a long story short, we love them. Josephine.
On Dec 2, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
There are many silver maples planted in my area. They all survived the recent hurricanes. I would heed the recommendations to keep them away from structures and underground utility lines but have no evidence from which to believe their roots are invasive or that they are any more weak-wooded than the exotics planted around here. I would keep all trees away from structures and utilities!
I love the detailed leaves. I think they are very attractive. What a work of art. Well, the upright growth of these trees in my opinion doesn't exactly make for the ideal shade tree to sit under, they would certainly be useful in many plantings. Definitely not a "trash" tree, whatever that means. If the litter is bothersome, wait a week and the wind will blow it into your neighbors' yard or the street.
On Nov 11, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I agree with most of those above that the Silver Maple is a messy tree that procreates with abandon. On the other hand, it gives quick shade and structure to bare suburban lots.
I feel that there is a place in the landscape for it , as long as it is planted away from gutters and sewer lines. Everything has an ideal place and as long as one takes the tree's faults into consideration, it can be a useful garden tree.
Anyone with a small lot, or where space is at a minimum, might want to think hard about getting one. Those of you who have a couple of acres...and a 'yard' ,rather than a 'lawn'...might not find this tree as offensive as those who are more confined.
When my wife and I bought our house, we inherited the Silverleaf Maple tree in the front yard.
According to the previous owners, the tree is 12 years old.
We love our tree. It provides shade to the yard and house, and we have been able to prune the lower reaching limbs with relative ease to allow enough sun to let the grass grow below it. It also seems very tolerant to the dry, hot summers here in Texas.
I have only seen 2 roots break the surface, and neither is a problem. The 'helicopter seeds' are abundant, but easily handled with a mower. We love gathering them up and tossing them in the air with our daughter!
Fall leaf litter is also easily handled by the mower.
We lost a few branches for the first time during SEVERE STORMS earlier this year. None were over 1.5" in diameter, and I don't think many trees could have survived the 70+mph winds.
The tree looks good, has no signs of stress or disease, provides wonderful shade, and is tolerant of our summer drought conditions.
Too many people are too picky about this tree, and too many bookwriters are overly critical with out having had one.
If you want one - wait until spring and gather some of the helicopter seeds. Every one that we have planted has grown into a new baby tree.
On May 9, 2004, jaoakley from Toronto, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:
I personally love large trees. I've seen a couple of Silver Maple specimens about 100 feet tall and almost 3 feet wide. I find the deep-notched leaves quite decorative, with their silvery-white undersides. Unlike some imported decorative maples, Silver Maples are also well adapted to the Canadian climate. (Japanese Maples sometimes get winterkill up here)
For a fast-growing tree, Silver Maples have a reasonable lifespan, about 130 years. I don't really mind the heavy seed fall, because I like maple keys anyway. (if they really bother you, I would recommend A. saccharinum "Silver Queen", which produces far less seeds) I've also never had a problem with aggressive roots.
Usually, Silver Maples turn a dull yellow in the fall. However, some rare specimens develop reddish tints, and even more rarely a bright red colour. I happen to be lucky enough to have one of those specimens, and I've included a picture of one of its fall leaves above.
We bought a house in Redwood City, CA partly because of the beautiful tree in the front. The trunk is nearly 2 feet in diameter. We later found out this was a silver maple. I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. The roots seem to be pretty tame and the kids love raking the leaves in the fall. Our previous house had pine needles everywhere, so the leaves and the less acidic soil are a welcome change.
We had the tree pruned a year ago and it really is doing well, nice shape too. We have been at this house 3 years and just this am noticed the seed pods (samaras) on the tree. This is the first time this has happened since we have been here. My Dad's house had a tree (not maple) with these whirlybird seeds, so I am curious to see how many come from our tree. They can be annoying, but most will just end up in the mower. The shade this tree affords us in the summer is amazing. The house is much cooler I am certain. Whenever we see new housing developments, we always remark on the lack of trees/shade. I think this tree is worth it if you need shade quickly.
On Sep 13, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I planted a Silver Maple because I was told they were fast growers. That may be true, but I later read in a garden book that Silver Maples are a "trash tree." On mine, the trunk has split and the roots have come up above the ground; I am waiting for it to die. When a tree grows fast it will also die fast (I hope!)
On Sep 10, 2003, Greenknee from Chantilly, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:
I guess even weeds have their uses (most Maples are weeds) and they may serve a purpose (ground cover, pollution abatement, etc.)
I have red, silver, norway and Japanese cutleaf maples, and the only one I treasure is the little red cutleaf (5' tall x 5' wide after 8 years). A tree man I hired to remove several trees this past spring said it was my most valuable tree - and I have a range of others as well. Even that one has surface roots and is very greedy. Maple lumber is good, so that's a plus!
On Sep 9, 2003, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:
I have a different viewpoint on the silver leaf maple. When my hubby and I moved in our home (a mobile home at the time) we needed shade fast and this tree delivers. Yes they are a mess after a storm but we consider the benefits to outweigh the negatives. We have planted oaks near the maples and plan on cutting down the maples in a few years when the oaks are bigger. I dont have a problem with unwanted trees coming up b/c it isnt a problem for us if we mow our grass and simply cut them down or pull up the seedlings we dont want. I also think the silver leaves blowing in the wind are pretty. These trees seem to thrive in our dry, humid,hot summers with no care. We have several that are 30-50 ft. tall in less than 13 yrs. so I dont regret planting them.
On Aug 31, 2003, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:
This is probably the messiest maple. I also inherited 2 with my home purchase. One (dead center in the backyard) I had removed as my first official act as homeowner! The 2nd one, I was advised to leave, as it was in the far corner of the property, and frankly took up lots of water that runs along the back of all the properties on the block. This tree drops viable seeds (tons of them), twigs & branches after every storm, and tons of leaves that must be shredded to be of any use!
On Aug 30, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
The previous owners of our home planted four Acer saccharinum near our home. They are fast-growing (translate: weak-wooded) trees that I personally consider "trashy" because of their propensity to litter the ground in the spring with "propellers" that have 110% germination, and again in the fall when their nondescript leaves rain nonstop into my gutters for a month or more.
There are many, prettier species of Maple - do yourself a favor and take a pass on this one.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Indian Springs Village, Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama Dewey-humboldt, Arizona La Riviera, California Manhattan Beach, California Labelle, Florida Lakewood Park, Florida Port Saint Lucie, Florida Braselton, Georgia Moscow, Idaho Decatur, Illinois Hampton, Illinois Mount Prospect, Illinois Niles, Illinois Homecroft, Indiana Atalissa, Iowa Des Moines, Iowa Derby, Kansas Benton, Kentucky Hebron, Kentucky Mc Dowell, Kentucky Melbourne, Kentucky Parkway Village, Kentucky Brownsville-bawcomville, Louisiana Port Vincent, Louisiana Cloverly, Maryland Valley Lee, Maryland Lawrence, Massachusetts Plymouth, Michigan Tecumseh, Michigan Westwood, Michigan Wyandotte, Michigan Fridley, Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports) Mathiston, Mississippi Fulton, Missouri Haddonfield, New Jersey Hamilton, New Jersey Buffalo, New York Kew Gardens, New York Port Dickinson, New York Belfield, North Dakota Dickinson, North Dakota Cleveland, Ohio Dayton, Ohio Ada, Oklahoma Breckenridge, Oklahoma Tidioute, Pennsylvania West Newton, Pennsylvania Yankton, South Dakota Unionville, Tennessee Copper Canyon, Texas Dallas, Texas Dalworthington Gardens, Texas Fairchilds, Texas Houston, Texas Lake Dallas, Texas Chantilly, Virginia Appleton, Wisconsin Ellsworth, Wisconsin Elmwood, Wisconsin Macfarland, Wisconsin