The great American sugar maple is a beautiful deciduous tree that offers some of the prettiest fall color of all maples. It is widely distributed from the northerly reaches of eastern Canada down to Georgia and Louisiana, so there is a lot of variability in hardiness and the trees are well-adapted to many growing situations; though in the wild they tend to be upland trees. Sugar maple seedlings are also surprisingly shade-tolerant and will grow fairly vigorously in the forest understory.
Sugar maple is an upright deciduous shade tree with an oval to rounded canopy. In early spring it puts forth inconspicuous clusters of chartreuse flowers that develop into helicopter-like fruits called samaras. Its medium to dark green summer foliage gives way to spectacular hues of red, pink, orange and golden yellow in the fall. A well-colored sugar maple has the sunny hues of a summer peach. There are many cultivars that vary in size, form and fall color.
In addition to beauty, these trees offer a sweet treat that’s a true American favorite, maple sugar and syrup. Sugar maples are the best maples for syrup, as their name would suggest. In late winter to early spring the trees are tapped as soon as temperatures begin to warm and the watery slightly sweet sap starts to flow. The sap is collected in buckets and taken to a sugar house where it is cooked down, or reduced, until thick, syrupy and super sweet.
Sugar maples develop the best crown growth in full to partial sun and tolerate a wide range of soil types so long as they are well-drained. They are not as adapted to stressful urban conditions as other maples but will fare well in city yards and parks with ample space for root growth. Soil compaction and root confinement can lead to leaf scorch, leaf drop or stunted, non-uniform growth. (source: learn2grow.com)
Genus - Acer
Species - Saccharum
Common name - Sugar Maple Northern
Pre-Treatment - Required
Plant type - Large Tree
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Hardiness zones - 5 - 8
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Shade
Height - 18 - 39 m
Spread - 12 - 24 m
Growth rate - Medium
Bloom season - Early Spring
Leaf / Flower color - Green, Dark green / Chartreuse
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Sand, Well Drained
Water requirements - Average water needs. Water regularly, do not over water
Landscape uses - Feature Plant, Shade Trees
1. Start the cold stratification process one month before the beginning of spring.
2. Place the seeds in a glass bowl and cover with room temperature water. Allow the seeds to soak for a minimum of 24 hours but no longer than 48 hours.
3. Hold a handful of sterile peat planting medium under a running faucet until the peat is soaked. Squeeze most of the water out of the peat, leaving it moist but not soggy. Place the moist peat into a zip-lock plastic bag.
4. Remove the seeds from the bowl of water and rinse them off under clean running water. Place up to three seeds into the plastic bag containing the peat. Use more peat and plastic bags if you want to germinate more than three seeds.
5. Push the seeds into the peat and seal the plastic bag. Shake the bag to distribute the peat so that it covers the seeds completely. The seeds must be buried in the moist peat in order to germinate.
6. Place the sealed bag in the bottom of the refrigerator. This will serve as the cold stratification. The seeds need to be kept at 34 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of 35 days, but not longer than 90 days.
7. Open the plastic bag periodically to make sure the peat is still moist. Add water as needed to restore the moisture.
8. Check the weather forecast after 35 days. You can plant the seeds outdoors if all danger of frost has passed. You can wait up to 55 more days, if there is still a possibility of frost and plant the seeds as late as early summer.
9. Plant the seeds by removing them from the peat and rinsing them with clean water. Bury the seeds 1/4 to 1 inch deep into the soil, ensuring that the seeds are covered. Keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout.
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