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How to Care for Silver Maple Trees

Silver maple is a fast-growing tree that can reach over 100 feet tall and live more than 130 years. As a result of its easy establishment, most people grow the tree as an ornamental plant. Silver maple is hardy down to USDA zone 3--where the temperature does not drop below minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit--so can grow almost anywhere in the United States. Growing this tree is not difficult as long as you know how to create the right environment for the silver maple.

Plant the silver maple tree in full sun or part shade with rich, well-drained soil. It will survive on poor soils that occasionally flood but will not do well on tight, clay soils. The pH should lie between 4.5 and 7.0. More alkaline soil will promote chlorosis, which could eventually kill the plant.

Water the silver maple tree, keeping it moist until it establishes itself and starts to grow on its own. Once established silver maples can withstand both drought and flooding.

Fertilize the silver maple in early spring with a complete fertilizer. Use fertilizer containing ammonium sulfate to lower the pH if the alkalinity is too high. Follow the directions on the package for application instructions.

Prune the tree in winter or early spring when it is dormant. Cut out diseased, broken and dead branches. Also cut away branches to shape the tree allow air to flow through it. This will prevent extensive damage from storms.

Silver Maple Tree & A Red Maple Tree?

The silver maple and red maple are hardy, deciduous trees that grow in a wide range of soil types in the Eastern U.S. and Southeast Canada. They can be distinguished by differences in their size, leaves, fruits, bark and fall color. According to, the silver maple is larger, growing to heights of 50 to 70 feet and widths of 40 to 60 feet. The undersides of the silver maple’s new leaves are silver-white in color, while the red maple’s new leaves have a whitish undertone. Young red maples have light gray bark while young silver maples have silvery gray bark. The MMPA says the bark of older silver maples takes on a “shaggy” appearance.


Silver maple may grow multiple trunks that may require cabling to keep stable.

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