Thinking about what kind of maple tree to plant? Consider these maples —and especially their potential growth! You don’t want to unknowingly pick a future giant to plant in a small space.
Since there are over 125 species, whose origins spread as far as China and the Far East, we’ll just focus on the most common that you can find and purchase in the Pacific Northwest. To start, only three maples are native to Oregon:
Species of Maples
Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)
Big and beautiful, this tree reaches up to 120 feet in height. It has the largest leaves of all the maples; hence the name, Bigleaf. It is widely distributed throughout the northwest and can grow on a variety of sites and soils. The sap from this tree can also be used for maple syrup production.
Vine Maple (Acer circatum)
Resting on average around 20 feet, this short maple resembles a shrub with multiple stems. The flowers feature a red calyx with five green/yellow petals. It is widely distributed across the Willamette Valley and grows best in the moist shade of trees like the western hemlock or Douglas-Fir.
Rocky Mountain Maple (Acer glabrum)
Smaller and delicate looking, this tree can exceed heights of 25 feet. The flowers are also greenish-yellow, which start to appear in the early spring. This maple can grow on sandy, gravelly, and even rocky soils. This tree can be found on wetlands, canyons, and upper mountain slopes between 5000 and 12,000 feet.
Now, check out these nonnative maples:
Japanese Red Maple (Acer palmatum)
Standing around 15 feet tall, this gorgeous tree will add a dash of red to your yard. This tree is typically planted for the visual interest and beauty it can bring to your landscape. It prefers moist, well-drained soil conditions.
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
More states have claimed this as their state tree than any other single species. Its most prominent feature is its amazing fall colors. The leaves turn from vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red. At maturity, this tree can stand at 75 feet tall. This tree also prefers moist soil conditions but has a moderate drought tolerance.
Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)
The underside of its leaves produce a lovely shimmering effect. Its bark, also inherits a silver color adding value to the name, Silver Maple. The tree grows incredibly fast, like 24 feet per year and at full growth can reach a height of 50 feet. The silver maple grows best in deep, moist, acidic soil.
If you have any questions regarding the health of your trees—including your maples—please call 503-224-1338 (Portland Office) or 541-779-7072 (Medford Office). Happy Maple Tree Hunting!