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Growing the Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum


Overview of the Silver Maple:

You will find many silver maples throughout the United States, especially in the east.

This maple tree is also tapped for its sap to boil down for maple syrup, though it is not as sweet as syrup made from the sugar maple (Acer saccharum.)

Latin Name:

This maple species was given the Latin name of Acer saccharinum and belongs to the Sapindaceae (soapberry) family.

Common Names:

Names for this species include silver maple, river maple, water maple, soft maple, silverleaf maple, white maple and creek maple.

Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones:

This tree is recommended for USDA Zones 3-9. It is native to eastern North America.

Size & Shape of the Silver Maple:

At maturity, this maple tree species will be 50-100' tall and 35-70' wide, creating a round or oval crown.


For optimal growth, plant your tree in a spot that receives full sun.

Foliage/Flowers/Fruit of the Silver Maple:

The leaves are three to seven inches in diameter with five deep lobes. They are silver on the underside and flash attractively in the breeze. In the fall they will change to hues of green, brown, orange, yellow or red.

The reddish or chartreuse flowers are formed in panicles in spring.

The winged samara fruit on the silver maple are the biggest of any species native to North America.

Design Tips For the Silver Maple:

This tree works well in the city as it is tolerant of many urban conditions like pollution. The wood can be weak and brittle, however, so consider carefully if planting in areas prone to harsh storms. Roots may also creep into pipes or fracture concrete.

Growing Tips For the Silver Maple:

This tree grows best in well-draining soil that is acidic. If the soil is dry for long periods, the leaves may scorch.


This tree should be trimmed in late summer and fall as pruning done in spring or early summer can cause the tree to bleed sap. It can form multiple trunks so trim to form a central leader.

Pests & Diseases of the Silver Maple:

You should not have any major pest problems with this species. Possible pests include:

  • Cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia)
  • Columbian timber beetle (Corthylus columbianus)
  • Common mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum)
  • Cottony maple scale (Pulvinaria innumerabilis)
  • Flatheaded appletree borer (Chrysobothris femorata)
  • Fruittree leaf roller (Archips argyrospila)
  • Maple callus borer (Synanthedon acerni)
  • Pinhole borer (Xyloterinus politus)
  • White-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma)

Potential diseases include:

  • Anthracnose (Gloeosporium saccharinum and Gloeosporium apocrypturn)
  • Bull's eye spot (Cristulariella pyramidalis)
  • Charcoal root rot (Macrophomina phaseoli)
  • Crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens)
  • Gray-mold spot (Cristulariella depraedens)
  • Leaf blisters
  • Powdery mildew
  • Shoestring root rot (Armillaria mellea)
  • Verticillium wilt (Verticillium albo-atrum)
Pests & Diseases information from the US Forest Service

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