Maple trees are perhaps one of the most iconic trees of the United States. These trees are well known for their leaves with pointy probes and brightly colored autumn foliage. Most of the many types of maple trees feature interesting growth in the spring. In early spring, the majority of maple trees form buds that swell to release colorful blooms. Some also form seed pods that look much like tiny helicopter propellers.
The sugar maple tree is one of the most common maple trees in the northeastern United States. Farmers harvest its sap to make maple syrup. In spring, the buds of the sugar maple begin to swell about one month before the tree blossoms with green blooms. The sugar maple’s show of color, however, is in its display of red autumn foliage, not its spring blossoms. This tree attracts a variety of birds throughout the spring growing season.
Another popular maple tree is the silver maple, also known as the soft maple or white maple. This tree grows rapidly and is popular with landscapers because it provides a significant amount of shade. Its new leaves begin to grow in the spring and are characterized by five spiky lobes. Spring also signifies the growth of the maple key fruit, which appears like small helicopter propellers. The silver maple also blossoms with bright red blooms throughout the spring growing season.
The Norway maple, also known as the heirloom maple, produces spring green blooms similar to the sugar maple's blooms. Spring also triggers the growth of the Norway maple’s most interesting feature, purple-colored leaves, making it a showy addition to the landscape. In some areas of the United States, the Norway maple is considered an invasive plant, according to the U.S. National Park Service's website. The tree's large growth and aggressive roots can break up its surrounding soil, and the Norway maple's dense shade causes plants to suffer from a lack of sunlight.
The red maple is perhaps one of the most colorful varieties of maple tree. It blossoms in early spring with bright red, spikelike blooms. Following the blooming season, the tree forms red-colored key fruits. Another interesting feature of the red maple is its tendency to grow in an upright or columnlike form. Many of the other maple varieties grow in a wide, outward-reaching spread. As a red maple's new leaves and branches grow in spring, the tree grows upward rather than outward.
- Cornell University, Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program: The Life of a Sugar Maple Tree
- Cornell University, Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program: Silver Maple
- National Gardening Association: Silver Maple
- U.S. National Park Service: Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas, Norway Maple
- National Gardening Association: Norway Maple
- Georgian Court University: Red Maple