Acer saccharumSugar Maple

Acer saccharum is among the most shade tolerant of large deciduous trees. Its shade tolerance is exceeded only by the striped maple, a smaller tree. Like other maples, its shade tolerance is manifested in its ability to germinate and persist under a closed canopy as an understory plant, and respond with rapid growth to the increased light formed by…

Description

Acer saccharum is among the most shade tolerant of large deciduous trees. Its shade tolerance is exceeded only by the striped maple, a smaller tree. Like other maples, its shade tolerance is manifested in its ability to germinate and persist under a closed canopy as an understory plant, and respond with rapid growth to the increased light formed by a gap in the canopy. Sugar maple can tolerate virtually any soil type short of pure sand, but does not tolerate xeric or swampy conditions.

Sugar maples are deeper-rooted than most maples and engage in hydraulic lift, drawing water from lower soil layers and exuding that water into upper, drier soil layers. This not only benefits the tree itself, but also many other plants growing around it.[15]

The mushroom Pholiota squarrosoides is known to decay the logs of the tree.[16]

Human influences have contributed to the decline of the sugar maple in many regions. Its role as a species of mature forests has led it to be replaced by more opportunistic species in areas where forests are cut over. The sugar maple also exhibits a greater susceptibility to pollution than other species of maple. Acid rain and soil acidification are some of the primary contributing factors to maple decline. Also, the increased use of salt over the last several decades on streets and roads for deicing purposes has decimated the sugar maple’s role as a street tree.

 

Urban planting

Sugar maple was a favorite street and park tree during the 19th century because it was easy to propagate and transplant, is fairly fast-growing, and has beautiful fall color. As noted above, however, it proved too delicate to continue in that role after the rise of automobile-induced pollution and was replaced by Norway maple and other hardier species. It is intolerant of road salt. Sugar Maples are commonly planted as a street tree in cities within the Mountain West region of the United States, usually a different cultivar such as the “Legacy” sugar maple. The shade and the shallow, fibrous roots may interfere with grass growing under the trees. Deep, well-drained loam is the best rooting medium, although sugar maples can grow well on sandy soil which has a good buildup of humus. Light (or loose) clay soils are also well known to support sugar maple growth. Poorly drained areas are unsuitable, and the species is especially short-lived on flood-prone clay flats. Its salt tolerance is low and it is very sensitive to boron.[citation needed] The species is also subject to defoliation when there are dense populations of larvae of Lepidoptera species like the rosy maple moth