Pros: Gorgeous shade tree; silvery leaves underneath; grows rapidly; cold hardy and poor soil tolerant
Cons: Maple is soft wood making it susceptible to storm damage
We recently moved to a new home and our homeowner's association rules states that homeowners must plant two maple trees by the street within one year of buying their new home so we bought one silver maple and one red maple tree and planted them last year.
What It Is
The Silver Maple Tree is a fast growing oval shaped deciduous tree that is very cold hardy. It is a popular tree that is placed along the streets of residential areas for shade purposes as well as its beauty due to its thick foliage. The mature Silver Maple will become large as its height will grow 50 - 70' tall and it has a spread of 40 - 60' therefore homeowners need to take precaution as to where they first plant this tree as it needs room to develop.
The Silver Maple tree has strong spreading branches that grow upwards-becoming vase shaped with age. They have been known to live 130 years.
The tree grows well in full or partial sun and is known to thrive in poor soil. It recovers well from floods and wetlands and actually transplants very easily.
The Silver Maple tree is called this due to its leaves is silvery white underneath. They first appear as light green and they turn to a beautiful brilliant yellow in the fall.
The Silver Maple tree thrives in most zones taking in zones 3-9.
One strong warning regarding the wood of maple is considered to be a soft wood making it susceptible to storm damage from severe winds or ice storms. It also has very vigorous feeder roots that have been known to crack sidewalks.
We had never planted a Silver Maple before, but its leaves were so beautiful and had a different shade and shape that we chose this to be one of our maples to place along the street. If it wasn't for the rules of the home owners association to plant maples we would not have chosen a maple due to the maintenance involved in the raking of the leaves in the fall when the tree starts growing.
In the town we live in there is a variety of homes dating from the late 1800's to present and the trees are enormous in the earlier years homes. Most homeowners planted their trees right next to their home causing them now problems with the roots and their sewer systems as in the case of our daughter's home built in 1908 with two large maple trees. I don't think people thought much back then and some don't now as to how large some trees become and the room that they need to develop properly without causing damage.
I have seen many mature Silver Maples around town and they are gorgeous and are highly regarded as a shade tree. I see people in the city parks sitting under them reading enjoying the shade that it provides.
However, since we did buy two maples to keep in compliance with the rules, I am so glad we bought the Silver Maple tree as it is very different than the rest with its vase shape and its silvery white underneath leaves and it is growing at a very rapid rate as it has doubled in size from 4 feet to 8 feet from one year ago.
When we planted ours, we did put a stake by it with string, however, we have found it is best not to keep the stake on for more than a year as all trees need to grow strong by their selves and ours has done just fine when we removed the stake this year and we have had wind storms up to 60 mph with the tree swaying over but not breaking.
This past spring I noticed the Silver Maple had very small greenish yellow to red flowers as well as the budding of the little leaves. I was so thankful that it survived our worst snowiest winter recorded since the 1940's so this tree is definitely cold snow hardy.
I highly recommend this beautiful shade tree but you need to be careful where you plant it since it will grow tall and its roots will spread out. Look for an area where it's roots will not interfere with your underground plumbing systems. After it starts to grow tall and wide it needs to be looked after for signs of bad branches and insect damage.