More than 100 species of maple trees grow around the world. The Texas climate provides excellent growing conditions for different maples. Hardy and often drought resistant, Texas maples are as colorful as the types found on the Northeast. While maples grown in Texas do not usually produce sap for maple syrup and sugar production, they add beauty and variety throughout the state and for use in large and small landscaping design.
The bigtooth maple tree has scarlet and gold leaves that give off a slightly sweet aroma. A native Texas tree, it is drought resistant and grows mainly in the limestone soil of canyons located in Central Texas, including northwest Austin. It is a small-to-medium size tree that reaches 50 feet tall with 40 feet width at the crown when mature. Its name refers to the leaves, which has large teeth or saw-like ridges on the edges.
The large red maple tree thrives in the wet soil of East Texas and blooms in the winter and spring. It is a poor choice for landscaping in drier and hotter climates in Central and West Texas. The deep-crimson leaf turns yellow in the fall with tree heights of 50 to 70 feet. The red maple reaches more than 100 feet in the wild. The oval-shaped top spreads out 40 to 60 feet wide. It is used for covering large areas.
This small maple tree, less than 20 feet tall, is Texas' most colorful maple with orange, scarlet and gold leaves. Its chalk-white to light-gray bark makes it easy to miss in the wild when surrounded by larger trees. Its round top spreads out to 15 feet, and its gray-green leaves have tiny soft fibers similar to hairs. The chalk maple tolerates drought and is a good choice to use in landscaping small areas.
The box elder maple tree is unlike other maples in Texas, due to its light olive-green, compound leaves that contain up to nine smaller leaves. It grows in the floodplains from East Texas to west of Fort Worth and near San Antonio. Its square shape resembles a box, giving the maple its name. The box elder is tall, reaching 50 to 75 feet. While it tolerates heat, it may not survive drought, so a box elder needs a nearby water source.