Types of maple trees of the Sapindaceae family are ones that can work as shade or specimen trees in different gardening setups. If you pick the suitable maple variety, these majestic and long-lived trees will be the perfect addition to your garden or front yard.

9 Types of Maple Trees PlantAmerica

Keep reading this article, as we will list some information to help you identify maple trees and learn about the best types to grow on your land.

List of Maple Trees To Identify And Grow

1. Amur Maple

Amur Maple Care Requirements PlantAmerica

Distinguishing characteristics
  • The tree has three-lobed glossy green leaves that turn to bright shades of yellow, orange, and red in the fall
  • The tree can be multi-stemmed or grow a single trunk, reaching a height of 18 feet
  • It’s considered a subspecies of the Tatarian maple or Acer tataricum
Care requirements
  • This maple thrives in sunny locations but is more tolerant of shade than other species
  • It can survive in several soil types and becomes drought resistant once established
Uses and benefits
  • It’s a good choice for a screen or hedge with the relatively short vine maple or Acer circinatum
  • You can also plant in a container
  • It provides a good summer cover and food source for songbirds and small mammals
Pests and diseases
  • The crown gall is a bacterial disease that affects this tree
  • Also known as Siberian maple, this tree is prone to iron chlorosis and wood rot

Despite the beauty and versatility of the amur maple, it’s considered invasive like the Norway maple. As a result, many owners choose to remove it. However, the pretty Acer ginnala tree rarely makes it to maturity and is susceptible to wind damage.

Even though different gardeners would grow this maple to enhance the color in their fall garden, mainly when grown with a beautiful crimson king Norway maple tree or Acer platanoides.

If it becomes invasive, you should remove seedlings by hand to prevent this tree from taking over your landscape. However, you can also skip this issue of its invasive characteristic because some grow it in containers.

2. Red Maple

Distinguishing aspects of Red Maple PlantAmerica

Distinguishing characteristics
  • This red maple tree is one of the fastest and most common maple trees in the Eastern part of the US, adding 18 inches to its height every year
  • The red maple lives up to 100 years and reaches 70 feet tall in optimal conditions. The October glory is a very fast-growing cultivar
  • Although the red maple tree leaves are green in spring and summer, the stalks, twigs, and fruits remain bright red all year
Care requirements
  • You need to plant this tree in moist soil, as it doesn’t tolerate drought like other maple trees
  • The tree doesn’t tolerate salty or alkaline soils, and you should ensure the soil drains well
  • Red maples achieve their brightest fall foliage in full sun
Uses and benefits
  • People grow this maple to add a pop of color to their fall gardens as a companion to the pretty Norway maple
  • It’s a great shade tree, but you should ensure it has enough room to spread because the canopy is relatively low
  • Squirrels are fond of feeding on the tree’s fruits, while rabbits and deer eat the soft shoots and leaves
Pests and diseases
  • Leaf spots and tar spots are pretty common diseases
  • Aphids and maple worms usually attack this tree

The Acer rubrum has several common names, including soft maple, Drummond red maple, swamp maple, trident red maple, scarlet maple, and water maple. These names refer to the traits of the wood, foliage, or the tree’s ability to survive in boggy locations.

The red sunset is a popular cultivar and a famous tree that grows about 18 inches yearly when the requirements are right. However, you must be providing it with a moist soil that has well-draining properties, and growing in a bright and sunny location.

3. Sugar Maple

Sugar Maple Care Suggestions PlantAmerica

Distinguishing characteristics
  • The sugar maple tree has a sprawling canopy of bright green foliage that turns to shades of vibrant orange in the fall
  • Although it’s easy to care for, it’s not a popular choice for urban landscapes because it doesn’t tolerate pollution
  • A chalk maple would be a good substitute, although it’s more expensive
Care requirements
  • The sugar maple tree survives in different soil types but prefers organically rich soil
  • Grow this maple tree in full sun, although it can withstand some partial shade
  • Water it two times a week until it gets established
Uses and benefits
  • A lot of homeowners grow this beautiful maple tree to make maple syrup
  • The sugar maple is a staple in fall gardens, thanks to its vibrant orange foliage
  • People usually grow the beautiful sugar maple as an heirloom specimen tree, surrounded by shorter trees like the striped maple
Pests and diseases
  • Powdery mildew is a common disease but it’s not fatal to the sugar maple
  • Maple leaf cutters and aphids can damage the buds

The Acer saccharum, also known as hard maple or rock maple, takes about 40 years to reach maturity. However, it’s not every homeowner’s first choice when they want to add maple trees to their landscape.

In this case, a good alternative would be the Acer pseudoplatanus or sycamore maple. Although several maple trees like black maple, red maple, bigtooth maple or Acer grandidentatum, and silver maple produce sweet maple syrup, sugar maple trees have the sweetest sap.

In addition to this, you must be careful because the soil should not be one that is high in minerals, and neither should be alkaline. However, when it comes to irrigation needs, in the beginning, phase, you must water it regularly until it develops properly, which is when you should water when the soil feels dry.

4. Japanese Maple

Uses of Japanese Maple PlantAmerica

Distinguishing characteristics
  • The Japanese maple tree leaves can be red, green, or both. In the fall, the foliage turns to brilliant shades of yellow, orange, purple, red, and burgundy
  • The Japanese maple’s canopy comes in several shapes, including upright, cascading, and weeping
Care requirements
  • It’s essential to grow Japanese maples in a protected spot where they won’t be subject to direct sunlight or strong winds
  • Compost-enriched, well-draining soil will work best for these trees
Uses and benefits
  • The Acer palmatum is widely used in bonsai planting when paired with other Japanese-style maples like the Coonara Pygmy
  • It’s also a good companion for the vine leaf maple or Acer cissifolium in an Asian garden
  • This tree will be a great focal point or specimen tree in your garden
Pests and diseases
  • Read-leaf varieties are more prone to getting scorched than green-leaf varieties
  • Twigs dying will be a sign of insufficient watering
  • Yellowish foliage will be a result of a lack of manganese

Japanese maple trees are prized for their colorful foliage, and some varieties, like the coral bark maple or Acer palmatum ‘sango-kaku’, have red bark, too. It has a very beautiful and flowy shape and this feature is what makes it one of the most striking additions to your garden.

It also has a dwarf cultivar, usually used as a hedge and as a substitute for the invasive hedge maple or Acer campestre. In short, this is how it would grow in variations and show its beauty in different ways.

The size of the Japanese maple depends on the cultivar, as some varieties can be between two and 25 feet tall. However, most homeowners will think twice before planting the Acer palmatum because the roots can make mowing difficult, and the tree is easily damaged by snow and wind.

5. Silver Maple

Beneficence of Silver Maple PlantAmerica

Distinguishing characteristics
  • The Acer saccharinum tree has silver-gray bark that gets shaggy as the plant ages
  • The maple tree leaves are green on the top and silvery on the bottom
Care requirements
  • The silver maple grows best in light soil and full sun
  • Although it grows in wet soil, this maple tree becomes drought-tolerant once established
Uses and benefits
  • Most people will grow this tree in wet conditions where other maple trees won’t survive
  • Many game and songbirds feed on the seeds of this tree
Pests and diseases
  • The wooly alder and giant bark aphid will attack this maple tree
  • Fungal leaf spots will affect this tree

This high-maintenance tree isn’t everyone’s first choice when looking for a maple tree. The branches break easily, so you must do some cleanup if you decide to grow this maple tree on your land.

It’s a good choice as an edging tree in woodland gardens, where you don’t have to struggle mowing around its shallow roots. The autumn blaze freeman maple or Acer freemanii is a cross between red and silver maples. Which is why it is a beautiful tree that you can grow around your house, because it would elevate the standards.

6. Big Leaf Maple

Big Leaf Maple Damaged by Pests PlantAmerica

Distinguishing characteristics
  • The maple tree leaves are green all year
  • The leaves would turn to a beautiful shade of yellow-orange in the fall
Care requirements
  • The Acer macrophyllum is suitable for mild climates as it thrives in USDA zones 5 to 9
  • It grows in well-draining, moist soil and should plant the seeds in the fall to protect them from the hot weather
  • It grows in full to partial sun
Uses and benefits
  • This maple tree is an excellent shade tree, thanks to its big leaves
  • The wood from this tree is used to make furniture and guitars
Pests and diseases
  • Beavers can cause substantial damage to the bigleaf maple
  • This tree can suffer from Armillaria root rot and butt rot

This is the tree that is also known as Oregon maple and broadleaf maple, this tree will only work for your landscape if you have enough space to allow its roots to spread. You can differentiate between maple trees by looking at the leaves; this one is characterized by having the biggest leaves among all maples.

On a small piece of land, the roots might break your pipes. The palm-shaped leaves can be as big as 12 inches wide. This tree is one that will grow in a strong manner when it is placed under the bright sun; however, the leaves would start to change their colors and become more yellow in fall season.

7. Paperbark Maple

Paperbark Maple Utilization Tips PlantAmerica

Distinguishing characteristics
  • The Acer griseum grows slowly, reaching a maximum height of 30 feet
  • It has a small rounded canopy with upright branches
Care requirements
  • This rather expensive maple will grow in clay soil where other maple trees will struggle
  • You can grow this tree in well-draining soil, and it can survive in partial shade
Uses and benefits
  • In addition to its typical fall color, homeowners love the reddish cinnamon bark of the tree, as it adds vibrancy to any landscape
  • It’s an excellent specimen maple tree for small yards, where it grows next to a patio or deck
Pests and diseases
  • Caterpillars and mites can be seen on this tree, but they rarely cause a life-threatening effect
  • Verticillium wilt affects this tree, turning the leaves brown and making them fall off

This tree gets its name from the peeling paper-like bark, which represents an attractive addition to any landscape. The bark starts peeling at six to seven years old and continues to do so.

The paperbark maple will survive under the shade of taller trees like the black maple or Acer nigrum. This small yet attractive tree will be an excellent choice for a small piece of land, where it’s usually grown as a shrub, along with the medium-sized Douglas maple or Acer glabrum.

8. Elder Maple

Elder Maple Tree Detailed Narration PlantAmerica

Distinguishing characteristics
  • This maple will adjust to several conditions
  • It’s considered one of the easiest maples to grow on your land
  • It usually grows several trunks, reaching a maximum height of 80 feet tall
Care requirements
  • This tree will grow in USDA zones 2 to 9 and can adapt to different weather and soil conditions
  • It can tolerate clay and sandy soil and requires full sun to grow
Uses and benefits
  • Grows and tolerates wet soils too
  • This is an excellent maple to plant next to a pond or any water feature on your land
Pests and diseases
  • This tree will attract boxelder bugs, which might try to get inside your house in winter
  • Powdery mildew is a common problem with this tree

Known as the box elder or ash-leaved maple, the Acer negundo is a fast-growing yet short-lived maple. It’s considered weedy or invasive in some areas, so you might need to check with the local authorities before growing it on your land. The way that it grows so strongly is a key characteristic that this tree is known to have.

Although not popular in urban landscapes, you might consider growing this maple if you have wet soil or need a non-fussy tree. Yet, the elder maple will be an exceptional option for you if you want a specimen tree that quickly changes the look of your landscape.

9. Full Moon Maple

Full Moon Maple Tree PlantAmerica

Distinguishing characteristics
  • The Acer japonicum is a popular Japanese and Chinese maple, characterized by its golden-orange spring foliage
  • Although it can grow between 20 and 40 feet tall, most people train it to grow as a shrub
  • The smooth bark becomes scaly as the tree matures
Care requirements
  • These maple trees grow easily in organically rich, well-draining, and moist soil as an understory tree, along with the Acer spicatum or mountain maple
  • The tree achieves its best color in partial shade
Uses and benefits
  • People grow the moon maple in shade gardens where it can contribute to the vibrance of fall colors
  • It can be an interesting hedge or a specimen tree in the cottage and city gardens
Pests and diseases
  • Horse chestnut scales and aphids usually attack this tree, but they’re not fatal
  • Bark damage can lead to cankers

Characterized by its colorful foliage, this maple tree will be a great companion to another strikingly-colored maple, like the Florida maple or Acer floridanum. Although this tree has a beautiful orange color, but in summer, it turns to chartreuse, and in fall, it becomes red, purple, and burgundy.

It thrives in the small hardiness zone between USDA 5 and 7. If you live in a colder area, you can plant another type like the Acer pensylvanicum and Acer carpinifolium or hornbeam maple. On another note, it is beautiful when growing along urban areas because of the vibrancy, but you should make sure that no pests would infest it.

Conclusion

Maples grow all over the US and can adapt to various conditions. But now you know all about these beautiful trees, and so check what we covered:

  • Despite the beauty of some maples, some trees are considered invasive, like the boxelder maple.
  • Several maples have commercial value for their sugary sap. Including sugar, red, black, and silver maple.
  • Most maples prefer full sun, but some types, like the full moon variety, will achieve the best color in partial shade.
  • Some types, like the silver maple tree, will grow in wet soil where other trees struggle.

Maples can live for decades on your land, so which one are you willing to invest in?

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