WSU Clark County Extension

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Silver Maple

Scientific name: Acer saccharinum

Type:Deciduous tree
Plant Requirements
Zone:3 to 9
Sun:Full sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:70 ft
Width:35 ft
Bloom:Spring flowers
Bloom Time:March
Bloom Color:Green
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Silver Maple has been heavily planted as an ornamental in many urban areas as it grows rapidly and is adaptable to a wide range of sites.

As a Northwest native deciduous tree, Silver Maple can attain a height of 70’ or more with spread of 35’. It features a short thick trunk which bears spreading limbs with pendulous branchlets which turn up at the ends.

The branches bear deciduous leaves arranged in an opposite fashion. Leaves are 3”-5” long and as wide, and are borne on long petioles. They have 5 deep lobes with V-shaped sinuses and doubly toothed margins.

Greenish to reddish flowers appear in dense clusters in March before the leaves emerge. Later the spent flowers give rise to very large (2.5” long) dual-winged samaras. The vast number of seeds that Silver Maple produces can lead to volunteer trees sprouting up nearby.

The foliage is dull green on the upper surface and silvery-white on the lower surface. Fall color ranges from pale yellow to scarlet and crimson.

The bark of Silver Maple is considered ornamental. As the tree grows larger the trunk splits and flakes revealing orangish inner surfaces.

Silver Maple can thrive on just about any soil type, including those that are wet during the growing season.

Even though Silver Maple will quickly grow to provide shade it does have a number of less than desirable attributes. During ice storms the brittle branches can easily break. With its shallow root system, surface roots can lead to buckling of sidewalks and driveways.

The literature reports problems with Verticillium wilt, leaf anthracnose, leaf spot and tar spots on the foliage.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234