Legacy Sugar Maple � Beautiful Fall Foliage of Yellows and Reds

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Ahh, the Sugar Maple! Even the name sounds enticing. This tree is a species of species of maple which is native in northeastern forests in North America. The Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum), which is sometimes called the hard maple or rock maple, is a deciduous tree that grows 80 � 115 feet on average. They have been seen to grow as high as 150 feet. The latter height is more common in forests but upon the grounds of certain old residences, these trees can be admired. These trees are infamous for their outstanding orange-red foliage in the fall and for producing sap for some of the finest maple syrup there is.

The leaves are deciduous [shed foliage at end of growing season], grow 3-6 inches long and equally wide with five palmate lobes, having leaflets or lobes radiating from a common point. The upper lobes are rather large and deeply notched in a rounded shape, whereas the basal lobes are relatively small. Sugar maples can color unevenly in the fall but the prominent color is the golden orange-red.

Sugar maples seldom flower until they are more mature trees; normally around 20 years, but the flowering is heavier at later ages. The flowers usually present themselves and bloom fully for one to two weeks before the leaf buds appear. The yellow flowers are pollinated freely by the sugar maple, without the aid of insects such as the bee.

Some sugar maples will produce triple samaras [winged seeded fruit, often single seed] and samaras with double wings. Usually, only one of the paired samara is filled with a single seed, but there are times that both samaras contain seed or sometimes, both will be empty. When the samaras turn yellowish green, the seeds are mature. The wings are like paper and the wind can carry samaras up to 330 feet.

Although the sugar maple is sensitive to flooding during the growing season, it tends to be far more tolerant to shade than some other hardwoods. The sugar maple is a genetically variable tree. Some botanists recognize from three to six varieties that differ in morphological characteristics, while others consider them to be subspecies. The sugar maple can be grouped into three major geographic ecotypes. The differences indicated in a study by a man named Provenance are resistance to leaf injury, drought resistance and phenol behavior.

Many maples can be used as a sap source for maple sugar, but the sugar maple is considered the best. The wood is prime choice for flooring and furniture because it is the densest and the hardest, thereby surpassing the wood of other maples. The NBA (National Basketball Association) favors the wood from the sugar maple for its flooring. It is also widely used in making baseball bats, bowling pins, drum shells, the neck of guitars, the back and sides of violins and the list goes on. The Red Sunset maple is not only a spectacular ornamental for your landscape, but the wood and maple syrup are superior amongst other maples.

Wisconsin named the Sugar Maple as its state tree in 1893 when school children made the choice. It was chosen a second time by school children to be the official state symbol in 1949. It is also the state tree of Rhode Island.
The red ensign for Canada was unofficially used since the 1890�s, but the �red maple leaf� was chosen for Canada�s flag by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and was first flown in 1965. Canada�s coat of arms also boasts the red maple leaf.
This ideal ornamental and shade tree makes it an excellent choice for landscapes and can be easily found at your local nursery. Now is the time for planting!

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