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Brief Summary

    Acer saccharinum: Brief Summary
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    Acer saccharinum, commonly known as silver maple, creek maple, silverleaf maple, soft maple, large maple, water maple, swamp maple, or white maple—is a species of maple native to the eastern and central United States and southeastern Canada. It is one of the most common trees in the United States.

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    Brief Summary
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    Acer saccharinum, the silver maple (also called creek-, river-, silverleaf-, soft-, water-, or white maple) is a fast-growing deciduous tree native to eastern North America, where it often grows in river floodplains and wetlands, leading to the colloquial name “water maple.”

    Silver maple is a relatively large tree, commonly reaching a height of 15–25 m, often with multiple stems. Bark of young trees and branches is smooth and light grey; mature trees develop long ridges or scales. The leaves are palmate, 8–16 cm long and 6–12 cm broad, with deep angular notches between the five lobes. The 5–12 cm long, slender stalks of the leaves mean that even a light breeze can produce a striking effect as the silver undersides of the leaves are exposed. The flowers are in small panicles, produced before the leaves in early spring, with the seeds maturing in early summer. The fruits are paired samaras (nutlets with stiff fibrous wings), with wings about 3–5 cm long. Although the wings provide for some aerial transport, the heavy seeds may also be transported by water.

    Silver maple is fast-growing, tolerates a wide variety of soils and urban conditions, and is easy to propagate and transplant, so it has been widely used as an ornamental and shade tree. It is also commonly cultivated outside its native range, showing tolerance of a wide range of climates, growing successfully as far north as central Norway and south to Orlando, Florida. It can thrive in a Mediterranean climate and is grown in temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere. However, urban plantings have declined in recent years because its brittle branches break off easily in storms (Barnes and Wagner 2004), and the shallow, fibrous roots easily invade septic fields and old drain pipes, and can crack sidewalks and foundations.

    Silver maple is closely related to (and sometimes confused with) red maple (Acer rubrum). The leaves can be distinguished by the longer, more deeply dissected lobes (with the sides of the middle lobe diverging) and the silvery underside; the samaras have larger wings that diverge at a wider angle. In natural areas, silver maple is generally restricted to river floodplains, streambanks, and deciduous swamps, but although it may occur in moist woods, it is not found in the drier uplands where red maple increasingly occurs. The two species can hybridize in natural wetlands where they occur together (Barnes and Wagner 2004).

    In the eastern U.S., silver maple’s large buds are a primary springtime food for squirrels, after many acorns and nuts have sprouted and other food is scarce (Geyer et al. 2010). The seeds are the largest of any native maple and provide food for many species. The silver maple is the favored host of the parasitic cottony maple scale, Pulvinaria innumerabilis.

    Silver maple has diverse timber and ethnobotanic uses, and is being researched as a potential source of biofuels due to its rapid growth rate (Geyer et al. 2010).
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    Brief Summary
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    Aceraceae -- Maple family

    William J. Gabriel

    Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is a medium-sized tree of short bole and quickly branching crown common in the Eastern United States where it is also called soft maple, river maple, silverleaf maple, swamp maple, water maple, and white maple. It is found on stream banks, flood plains, and lake edges where it grows best on better-drained, moist alluvial soils. Growth is rapid in both pure and mixed stands and the tree may live 130 years or more. Silver maple is cut and sold with red maple (A. rubrum) as soft maple lumber. The winged seeds are the largest of any of the native maple. They are produced in great abundance annually, providing many birds and small mammals with food. An attractive tree with delicate and graceful foliage, silver maple is often planted as an ornamental.

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Comprehensive Description

    Acer saccharinum
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    Not to be confused with Acer saccharum, the sugar maple.
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    Acer saccharinum, commonly known as silver maple,[3] creek maple, silverleaf maple,[3] soft maple, large maple,[3] water maple,[3] swamp maple,[3] or white maple[3]—is a species of maple native to the eastern and central United States and southeastern Canada.[3][4] It is one of the most common trees in the United States.

    Description

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    Silver maple leaf

    The silver maple tree is a relatively fast-growing deciduous tree, commonly reaching a height of 15–25 m (49–82 ft), exceptionally 35 m (115 ft). Its spread will generally be 11–15 m (36–49 ft) wide. A 10-year-old sapling will stand about 8 m (26 ft) tall. It is often found along waterways and in wetlands, leading to the colloquial name "water maple". It is a highly adaptable tree, although it has higher sunlight requirements than other maple trees.

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    Silver maple leaves

    The leaves are simple and palmately veined, 8–16 cm (3 146 14 in) long and 6–12 cm (2 144 34 in) broad, with deep angular notches between the five lobes. The 5–12 cm (2–4 34 in) long, slender stalks of the leaves mean that even a light breeze can produce a striking effect as the downy silver undersides of the leaves are exposed. The autumn color is less pronounced than in many maples, generally ending up a pale yellow, although some specimens can produce a more brilliant yellow and even orange and red colorations. The tree has a tendency to color and drop its leaves slightly earlier in autumn than other maples.

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    Samaras and leaves forming in April

    The flowers are in dense clusters, produced before the leaves in early spring,[5] with the seeds maturing in early summer. The fruit are samaras, each containing a single seed, and winged, in pairs, small (5–10 mm or 0.20–0.39 in in diameter), the wing about 3–5 cm (1 14–2 in) long. The fruit are the largest of any native maple. Although the wings provide for some transport by air, the fruit are heavy and are also transported by water. Silver maple and its close cousin red maple are the only Acer species which produce their fruit crop in spring instead of fall. The seeds of both trees have no epigeal dormancy and will germinate immediately.

    On mature trunks, the bark is gray and shaggy. On branches and young trunks, the bark is smooth and silvery gray.

    Cultivation and uses

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    Typical yellow autumn leaf color
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    Atypical reddish autumn color; this sort of coloration is sporadic and uncommon

    Wildlife uses the silver maple in various ways. In many parts of the eastern U.S., the large rounded buds are one of the primary food sources for squirrels during the spring, after many acorns and nuts have sprouted and the squirrels' food is scarce. The seeds are also a food source for squirrels, chipmunks and birds. The bark can be eaten by beaver and deer. The trunks tend to produce cavities, which can shelter squirrels, raccoons, opossums, owls and woodpeckers.[6] Additionally, the leaves serve as a source of food for species of Lepidoptera, such as the rosy maple moth (Dryocampa rubicunda).[7]

    Native Americans used the sap of wild trees to make sugar, as medicine, and in bread. They used the wood to make baskets and furniture.[6] An infusion of bark removed from the south side of the tree is used by the Mohegan for cough medicine.[8]

    Today the wood can be used as pulp for making paper.[9] Lumber from the tree is used in furniture, cabinets, flooring, musical instruments, crates, and tool handles, because it is light and easily worked. Because of the silver maple's fast growth, it is being researched as a potential source of biofuels.[6] Silver maple produces a sweet sap but it is generally not used by commercial sugarmakers because its sugar content is lower than in other maple species.[10]

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    Silver maple bark

    The silver maple is often planted as an ornamental tree because of its rapid growth and ease of propagation and transplanting. It is highly tolerant of urban situations and is frequently planted next to streets. However, its quick growth produces brittle wood which is commonly damaged in storms. The silver maple's root system is shallow and fibrous and easily invades septic fields and old drain pipes; it can also crack sidewalks and foundations. It is a vigorous resprouter, and if not pruned, will often grow with multiple trunks. Although it naturally is found near water, it can grow on drier ground if planted there. In ideal natural conditions, A. saccharinum may live up to 130 years but in urban environments often 80 or less.

    Following World War II, silver maples were commonly used as a landscaping and street tree in suburban housing developments and cities due to their rapid growth, especially as a replacement for the blighted American elm. However, they fell out of favor for this purpose because of brittle wood, unattractive form when not pruned or trained, and tendency to produce large numbers of volunteer seedlings, and nowadays it is much less popular for this purpose to the point where some towns and cities banned its use as a street tree.

    It is also commonly cultivated outside its native range, showing tolerance of a wide range of climates, growing successfully as far north as central Norway and south to Orlando, Florida. It can thrive in a Mediterranean climate, as at Jerusalem and Los Angeles, if summer water is provided. It is also grown in temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere: Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, the southern states of Brazil (as well as in a few low-temperature locations within the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais).[citation needed]

    The silver maple is closely related to the red maple (Acer rubrum) and can hybridise with it. The hybrid variation is known as the Freeman maple (Acer × freemanii). The Freeman maple is a popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, combining the fast growth of silver maple with the less brittle wood, less invasive roots, and the beautiful bright red fall foliage of the red maple. The cultivar Acer × freemanii Autumn Blaze = 'Jeffersred'[11] has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

    The silver maple is the favored host of the parasitic cottony maple scale[citation needed] and the maple bladder gall mite Vasates quadripedes.[12]

    Cultural references

    In the English Christmas carol, "Wassail, Wassail All Over the Town", the "white maple" in "Our bowl, it is made of the white maple tree" refers not to the silver (white) maple, but the wood of the sycamore maple, Acer pseudoplatanus.

    References

    1. ^ Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 9, June 2008 [and more or less continuously updated since]. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/.
    2. ^ "Acer saccharinum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    3. ^ a b c d e f g Gabriel, William J. (1990). "Acer saccharinum". In Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H. Hardwoods. Silvics of North America. Washington, D.C.: United States Forest Service (USFS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2 – via Southern Research Station (www.srs.fs.fed.us).
    4. ^ "Acer saccharinum". State-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
    5. ^ Jepson Flora Project (ed.). "Key to Acer". Jepson eFlora. The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
    6. ^ a b c Geyer, W. A.; J. Dickerson; J. M. Row (2010). "Plant Guide for Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum L.)" (PDF). Plant Guide. Manhattan, KS: U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
    7. ^ "Dryocampa rubicunda (rosy maple moth)". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
    8. ^ Tantaquidgeon, Gladys 1928 Mohegan Medicinal Practices, Weather-Lore and Superstitions. SI-BAE Annual Report #43: 264-270 (p. 269)
    9. ^ "Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum L." Maple Field Guide. MapleInfo.org. Archived from the original on 2013-01-09. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
    10. ^ Geyer, W. A.; J. Dickerson; J. M. Row (2010). "Plant Guide for Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum L.)" (PDF). USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service.
    11. ^ "Acer × freemanii Autumn Blaze = 'Jeffersred'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
    12. ^ Redfern M.; Shirley P.R.; Bloxham M. (2011). British Plant Galls (Second Edition). Preston Montford: Field Studies Council. p. 23. ISBN 978 1 85153 284 1.

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Distribution

    Distribution
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    The range of silver maple extends from New Brunswick to west to northern
    Michigan, northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota; south to
    southeastern South Dakota and eastern Oklahoma; east to northern
    Georgia; and north through western South Carolina and western North
    Carolina to Maine.  It is found in northwestern Florida on the
    Apalachicola and Choctawhatchee rivers but is not otherwise found on the
    Gulf or Atlantic Coastal Plain [37].
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    Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/
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    Occurrence in North America
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         AL  AR  CT  DE  FL  GA  IL  IN  IA  KS
         KY  LA  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  NE
         NH  NJ  NY  NC  ND  OH  OK  PA  RI  SC
         SD  TN  VT  VA  WV  WI  NB  ON  PQ
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    Regional Distribution in the Western United States
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    This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

       14  Great Plains
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    Distribution
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    The natural range of silver maple extends from New Brunswick, central Maine, and southern Quebec, west in southeastern Ontario and northern Michigan to southwestern Ontario; south in Minnesota to southeastern South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma; and east in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to northwestern Florida and central Georgia (22). The species is absent at higher elevations in the Appalachians.

    Silver maple has been introduced to areas of the Black Sea coast of the Soviet Union, where it has adapted to the growing conditions there and is reproducing naturally in small stands (24).


    -The native range of silver maple.


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Morphology

    Description
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    More info for the terms: fruit, tree

    Silver maple is a native, deciduous, medium-sized tree.  Mature height
    ranges from 90 to 120 feet (27-36 m).  Silver maple is characterized as
    a fast growing species [16].  The trunk is often separated into several
    upright branches near the ground [50].  The crown is usually open and
    rounded [20].  The bark of young stems is smooth; it becomes darker and
    furrowed to flaky on older stems [10].  The root system is shallow and
    fibrous [16].  The deepest roots of 35-year-old silver maples planted on
    clay soil in North Dakota were 55 inches (139.7 cm).  The longest roots
    extended horizontally 49 feet (14.9 m) [68].  The fruit is a winged
    samara, 1.4 to 1.9 inch (3.5-5 cm) long and up to 0.48 inch (12 mm) wide
    [10].

    Silver maples can live to 130 years or longer [16].  The national
    champion silver maple (1972) was found in Michigan.  It was 125 feet
    (38.1 m) tall, 22.58 feet (82.6 m) in circumference, and had a crown
    spread of 111 feet (33.8 m) [20].
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Habitat

    Climate
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    The important climatic factors within the area of the natural distribution of silver maple vary as follows: normal annual total precipitation, 810 to 1520 mm (32 to 60 in); growing season precipitation (May, June, July, and August), 200 to 810 mm (8 to 32 in); mean annual snowfall, 0 to 254 cm (0 to 100 in); mean length of frost-free period, 120 to 240 days (42).

    There is no information on specific climatic factors that may influence the natural range of silver maple. It is not found in the colder climate of high mountainous areas, and in the drier parts of its range it grows only along streams where ample moisture is available. Its ability to withstand temporary flooding better than other species gives it an advantage in competing for growing space. When planted as ornamentals, trees grow vigorously under a variety of climatic factors from coast to coast.

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    Habitat characteristics
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    More info for the terms: codominant, forest, natural, peat

    Silver maple is typical of wet bottomlands, riverbanks, and lake edges.
    It is less common on upland sites [10].  In Illinois, silver maple was
    reported only from bottonland wet-mesic sites; it did not occur on drier
    sites of even slightly higher elevation [60].  In New York, silver maple
    occurs on limestone, outwash, and alluvial soils [34].  Best growth is
    on moist, well-drained, fine-textured alluvial soil [16,40,44].  Silver
    maple is found from 100 feet (30.5 m) to 1,600 feet (488 m) elevation in
    the Adirondacks [34], and is uncommon above 1,980 feet (600 m) elevation
    in the Appalachians [14].  In drier areas silver maple is only found
    along streams [10].

    Silver maple is usually found on soils with pH above 4.0, but has been
    reported from muck and shallow peat soils with a pH from 2.0 to 3.3
    [16].  Recommended soil pH range is 4.5 to 7.0 [72].  Forest floor
    biomass under silver maple plantations had an average pH of 3.7 after 27
    years of growth; the underlying mineral soils averaged pH 6.3.  The
    effect appeared to be due to a decrease in buffering capacity [15].

    Silver maple is intermediate in tolerance to water-saturated soils, but
    can tolerate prolonged periods of inundation [16].  It is a member of
    some greentree reservoir systems that are flooded during the dormant
    season to provide waterfowl habitat and drained before the onset of the
    growing season.  These sites usually have saturated soils most of the
    growing season [61].  Silver maple seedlings survived 60 days of
    continuously saturated soils [25], but seedlings of low vigor died after
    only 2 days of complete inundation [24].  In the upper Mississippi River
    valley, silver maple trees died after 2 years of constant inundation
    (due to reservoir formation) [22].

    In the northeastern United States, silver maple is a dominant or
    codominant species on the following types of sites: 1) undifferentiated
    alluvial deposits of poorly drained silts high in organic matter and
    nitrogen, 2) undifferentiated alluvium composed of well-drained silts
    with a high base content and nearly neutral soils, and 3) rapidly
    aggrading alluvial areas and point bars composed of mixtures of sand and
    silt that are of intermediate fertility [43].

    Silver maple was consistently dominant in a model of riparian forest
    stands under conditions of 4,000 growing degree days, even when other
    model parameters were varied.  This is consistent with the natural
    distribution of silver maple; it decreases in dominance with decreasing
    latitude and increasingly warmer conditions [38].
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    Habitat: Cover Types
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    This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

        39  Black ash - American elm - red maple
        61  River birch - sycamore
        62  Silver maple - American elm
        63  Cottonwood
        93  Sugarberry - American elm - green ash
        94  Sycamore - sweetgum - American elm
        95  Black willow
       108  Red maple
       109  Hawthorn
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    Habitat: Ecosystem
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    This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

       FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress
       FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood
       FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
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    Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/
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    Habitat: Plant Associations
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    This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

    More info for the term: forest

       K098  Northern floodplain forest
       K101  Elm - ash forest
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    Key Plant Community Associations
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    More info for the terms: codominant, density, forest, natural, swamp, tree

    Silver maple is a dominant canopy species only in streamside communities
    and lake fringes, and occasionally in swamps, gullies, and small
    depressions of slow drainage [16].  The elm-ash-cottonwood type is
    defined as bottomland forest in which elms (Ulmus spp.), green ash
    (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides), silver
    maple, or red maple comprise a plurality of the stocking [70].

    Silver maple and/or American elm (Ulmus americana) are usually the
    dominant tree species in southern Wisconsin floodplain forests [66].  In
    Illinois, silver maple was the leading dominant on floodplain sites that
    were flooded at least 25 percent of the time.  With increased elevation
    other species increased, although silver maple continued to be dominant
    on sites that were flooded 3 to 5 percent of the time.  Silver maple,
    sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), and green ash communities occurred at
    the lowest elevations; silver maple, sycamore, green ash, American elm,
    hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), and other species were found at higher
    elevations [5].  In central New York, silver maple-green ash swamps are
    relatively low in species diversity and density [27].  Silver maple
    dominance decreases with decreasing latitude; it is relatively rare in
    many southern floodplain forests [12].

    In the Central Forest Region (as defined by the Society of American
    Foresters [73]), understory associates of silver maple include willows
    (Salix spp.), redberry elder (Sambucus pubens), red-osier dogwood
    (Cornus sericea), and greenbriers (Smilax spp.).  In the Northern Forest
    Region associates include swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor), sycamore,
    pin oak (Quercus palustrus), black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), and eastern
    cottonwood.  In New England and eastern Canada, associates include sweet
    birch (Betula lenta), paper birch (B.  papyrifera), and gray birch (B.
    populifolia).  In New York, associates include white ash (Fraxinus
    americana), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), rock elm (U. thomassii), yellow
    birch (B. allegheniensis), black tupelo, sycamore, eastern hemlock
    (Tsuga canadensis), bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), and swamp white oak [16].
    In the elm-ash-cottonwood type, other associates include black willow
    (Salix niger), boxelder (Acer negundo), and sycamore [70].

    Silver maple is listed as a dominant or codominant species in the
    following publications:

    1) Composition and environment of floodplain forests of northern
           Missouri [12]
    2) Wetland forests of Tompkins County, New York [26]
    3) Community analysis of the forest vegetation in the lower Platte
           River Valley, eastern Nebraska [53]
    4) A classification of mature forests on Long Island, New York [75]
    5) Ecological communities of New York State [76]
    6) The natural forests of Maryland: an explanation of the vegetation map
           of Maryland [77]
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Associations

    Associated Forest Cover
    provided by Silvics of North America
    In the Central Forest Region, Silver Maple-American Elm (Society of American Foresters Type 62) is a major eastern forest cover type (7). In addition to American elm (Ulmus americana), other major associates of silver maple are sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), pin oak (Quercus palustris), swamp white oak (Q. bicolor), eastern cottonwood (Populus de/toides), sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica).

    Understory species commonly found with silver maple in the Central Forest Region are willow (Salix spp.), redberry elder (Sambucus pubens), red-osier dogwood (Corn us stolonifera) and greenbriar (Smilax spp.). Associated herbaceous species are wood-nettle (Laportea canadensis), jewelweed (Impatiens spp.), poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Joe-pye-weed (Eupatoriurn spp.), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and boneset (Eupatoriurn perfoliatum).

    In the Northern Forest Region, silver maple in northern Ohio and Indiana is associated with swamp white oak, sycamore, pin oak, black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), and eastern cottonwood; in New England and eastern Canada with sweet birch (Betula lenta), paper birch (B. papyri[era), and gray birch (B. populifolia); in New York with white ash (Fraxinus americana), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), rock elm (U. thomasii), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), black tupelo, sycamore, eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), and swamp white oak.

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Diseases and Parasites

    Damaging Agents
    provided by Silvics of North America
    A number of diseases, insects, and other damaging agents attack the species. Their effect ranges from an unsightly appearance to the weakening and death of the tree.

    Chief among the foliage diseases on silver maple are gray-mold spot (Cristulariella depraedens); bull's eye spot (C. pyramidalis), which can cause severe defoliation of nursery stock; anthracnose (Gloeosporium apocrypturn and G. saccharinum); tar spots (Phyllosticta minima, Rhytisma acerinum, and R. punctatum); leaf blister (Septoria aceris and Taphrina carveri); and the powdery mildew fungi (Phyllactinia guttata and Uncinula circinata). Of less importance are the common spot fungi Venturia acerina and Cladosporium humile (10).

    Probably the most important stem disease in silver maple is Verticillium wilt (Verticillium albo-atrum), which can cause sudden death. Other diseases of the stem that have either a secondary or parasitic effect are the target canker (Nectria galligena and N. cminabarina), the common mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum), crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens), and two that produce the brown felty covering over scale insects (Septobasidium burtii and S. pseudopedicellatum) (10). The Eutypella canker (Eutypella parasitica), formerly thought to attack only sugar and red maple, has been found on silver maple (9).

    A host of root and trunk rots attack silver maple. Seedlings are killed by Rhizoctonia solani and the imperfect stage of the charcoal root rot (Macrophomina phaseoli). Shoestring root rot (Armillaria mellea) is common on the species and kills trees that are already in a weakened state. A similar root rot (Armillaria tabescens) attacks silver maple in the South. A number of other decay fungi act on heartwood and inner sapwood. These are primarily in the Fomes and Hydnum genera. Flowers and seeds of the species are lost through the discomycete Ciboria acerina (10).

    There are no serious insect pests of silver maple, but the species is attacked by borers, leaf feeders, and scale insects. Among the borers are the Columbian timber beetle (Corthylus columbianus); the flatheaded appletree borer (Chrysobothris femorata); the maple callus borer (Synanthedon acerni); and the pinhole borer (Xyloterinus politus). Leaf feeders are the fruittree leaf roller (Archips argyrospila); the cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia); and the white-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma). Bladder gall mites found on the species are Vasates quadripedes and V. aceris-crummena (3,4,46). An outbreak of the cottony maple scale (Pulvinaria innumerabilis) was controlled by treatment with large numbers of the coccinelid Hyperaspis signata (25). Gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) is not a significant pest of silver maple; the young larvae cannot become established on the species (27).

    Silver maple, because of its brittle wood properties, is highly susceptible to ice damage (5); when planted as an ornamental along streets it can be seriously affected by illuminating gas leakage from underground mains. It is known to react unfavorably to certain other air pollutants (14,15,16,17,41).

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General Ecology

    Fire Ecology
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: fire regime

    Silver maple is not well adapted to survive fire despite its ability to
    sprout after other disturbances.  Its relatively soft wood, thin bark
    and tendency to rot render it susceptible to fire-caused wounds [74].
    Its shallow roots are probably easily damaged by fire.  It does not
    occur on sites that burn frequently.  In southern Quebec, a sedge meadow
    that was protected from fire was rapidly invaded by a number of woody
    species, including silver maple [2].

    FIRE REGIMES :
    Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
    species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
    "Find FIRE REGIMES".
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    Fire Management Considerations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: competition, tree, vines

    Prescribed fire is not recommended for the riparian or bottomland
    forests in which silver maple occurs.  Silver maple is susceptible to
    fire damage; surface fires kill seedlings and saplings and wound larger
    trees which exacerbates the tendency of silver maple to rot.  Weeds and
    vines follow fires and create heavy competition for tree seedlings.  The
    destruction of organic layers by fire contributes to general site
    deterioration [44].

    The 'higher heat value' of oven-dry silver maple wood averaged 8,360 BTU
    per pound [30].
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    Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    More info for the term: phanerophyte

      
       Phanerophyte
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    Immediate Effect of Fire
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Silver maple is easily killed by fire [40].
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    Life Form
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: tree

    Tree
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    Plant Response to Fire
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    There are no published reports of silver maple surviving or sprouting
    after fire.
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    Post-fire Regeneration
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: tree

       Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/soboliferous species root sucker
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    Reaction to Competition
    provided by Silvics of North America
    The tolerance to shade of silver maple ranges from moderately tolerant to very intolerant, depending on site quality and location. In general, it is considered tolerant on good sites and almost intolerant on poor sites (48). Foresters, in general, class silver maple as tolerant of shade (2), but the species has been rated very intolerant on bottom-land sites in the South (48). Seedlings are intermediate in tolerance to water-saturated soils (12) but can tolerate prolonged periods of inundation. On upland soils silver maple grows well but is highly intolerant of competing vegetation.

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    Regeneration Processes
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: frequency, layering, litter, natural, root crown, seed

    The minimum seed bearing age for silver maple is 11 years.  Large seed
    crops are produced annually [46].  The fruits are primarily wind
    dispersed, with a minor amount of water dispersal [16].  Release of
    fruits is dependent on relatively high wind speeds, ensuring long
    distance dispersal [23].  The seeds germinate immediately upon dispersal
    [10].  Natural regeneration is most successful on moist mineral soil
    with considerable organic matter [16].  Silver maple seed also
    germinates well on moist litter.  Seedling establishment requires full
    sun, but subsequent growth is best with partial shade [44].  Seedlings
    are often stunted in saturated soils, but can recover when soil moisture
    drops [16].  In Wisconsin, silver maple seedlings were found with higher
    frequency in the spring than in the fall [36].

    Silver maple can be propagated from cuttings and bud grafts, and by
    layering.  It sprouts prolifically from the stump or root crown.  The
    best sprouting occurs from stumps less than 12 inches (30 cm) in
    diameter.  Larger trees tend to lose the ability to sprout [16,74].
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    Rooting Habit
    provided by Silvics of North America
    The species has a shallow, fibrous root system. Survival would be enhanced by this system rather than one that is deep and taprooted, since silver maple is primarily found on the more protected floodplain and bottom-land sites. Its prolific root system is notorious for invading and clogging underground drainage and water lines that are not tightly constructed.

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    Successional Status
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    More info for the terms: climax, forest, hardwood, natural, presence, seed, succession, tree

    Facultative Seral Species

    The shade tolerance of silver maple is not well defined.  It ranges from
    moderately tolerant to very intolerant of shade, depending on site
    quality and location.  Silver maple tends to be more shade tolerant on
    good sites and less tolerant on poor sites [16].

    Silver maple is a dominant species in elm-ash-cottonwood forest types
    which are pioneer to intermediate in succession.  These forests cannot
    be maintained without management or natural disturbance [44].  The
    silver maple-American elm type is usually a subclimax type, following
    willows and eastern cottonwood.  The type is described as climax for
    southern Ontario, where it regenerates in willow and red-osier dogwood
    thickets [73].

    Silver maple is one of a number of species that follow eastern
    cottonwood to form a mixed hardwood bottomland community.  It is
    described as an early, fast-growing species [32].  In a northern
    Missouri floodplain community, in plots where silver maple was the most
    important overstory species, there were many large silver maples in the
    understory.  Silver maple will probably remain the canopy dominant for
    some time since there are also large old eastern cottonwoods present,
    which, when they die, will create openings large enough for silver maple
    seedling establishment.  Similarly, the presence of American elms will
    allow new silver maple establishment if they succumb to Dutch elm
    disease (as is likely) [12].  Numerous silver maple seedlings and
    saplings were present in a silver maple dominated forest on the Wabash
    River in Illinois and Indiana, which should ensure the continued
    dominance of silver maple on this site for some time [49].

    Silver maple is typically found in riparian forests which are more or
    less frequently disturbed by floods [20].  It is also found both on
    sites that have been disturbed by stream channelization projects [29].
    It forms stands at low elevations where new alluvium has been deposited
    and will colonize bottomland clearings and adjacent slopes [4,20].
    Silver maple was present on 28-year-old and 40-year-old abandoned
    agricultural clearings in western Tennessee [57].  It invades sedge
    (Carex spp.)  meadows in northern Wisconsin [52] and southern Quebec
    [2].  Silver maple invades cutover areas when seed sources are present
    [40].

    Silver maple was a member of a plant community that established on a
    small, frequently flooded island in Wisconsin.  On this island, silver
    maple was quite common and there was a relatively large number of silver
    maple seedlings.  Most of the large silver maple stems were of sprout
    origin, and overall mortality rate for silver maple was lower than that
    for most other species.  Apparently, flood damage breaks off aboveground
    portions of silver maple.  The remaining stems sprout vigorously and may
    therefore increase in number after such damage.  The largest stems of
    all species were found on the downstream end of the island, where they
    experienced less destructive disturbance [3].

    A silver maple-green ash forest was reported to a National Park Service
    survey as old growth.  This forest covers 7.5 to 10 acres (3-4 ha) on
    Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington D.C.  Approximate tree ages
    range from 160 to 198 years [62].
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Cyclicity

    Phenology
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    Silver maple is one of the earliest flowering species within its range;
    flowering occurs over a short period from late February to April or May,
    depending on latitude [10,16].  All flowers on one individual are within
    a day or so of each other in development; the period of pollen
    receptivity lasts from a few days to a week [67].  The flowers often
    fall before the leaves are fully grown [19].  The seeds ripen and are
    released over a very short period, usually less than 2 weeks [23] from
    April to June.  Germination usually occurs shortly after dispersal [10].
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Reproduction

    Flowering and Fruiting
    provided by Silvics of North America
    Silver maple is the first of the maples to bloom in North America, beginning as early as February and extending into May (38). Flowers are greenish yellow and bloom long before the leaves appear. They are borne on short pedicels in sessile, axillary fascicles on shoots of the previous year, or on short, spurlike branchlets developed the year before. Separate clusters of female and male flowers appear on the same tree or on different trees (19,37).

    Four types of trees, with respect to sex expression, have been observed: all male flowers; all female flowers but with rudimentary pistils; mostly male with a few females; and mostly male with a few females and a scattering of hermaphroditic flowers (19).

    Silver maples growing in Holland showed a tendency for the same tree to produce female flowers one year and both female and male flowers the next year. Trees that produced all male flowers did not show this type of change (6).

    Fruits and seeds of silver maple develop rapidly. Within 24 hours after pollination flower parts become withered and ovaries begin to swell. Fruits are about 6 mm (0.25 in) long 1 week after pollination. At the end of 3 weeks, when they become mature samaras, the fruits are about 5 cm (2 in) long. Fruit pedicels are short, ranging in length from 2.5 cm (1 in) to nearly 9 cm (3.5 in) (19).

    Ripening fruits change from a green or rose color to yellowish or reddish brown. Seeds to be placed in storage should be picked when their moisture content is more than 30 percent and should be maintained at this level. Seeds with less than 30 percent moisture content lose their viability quickly.

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    Seed Production and Dissemination
    provided by Silvics of North America
    Seed ripening and dispersal over the range of the species begins in April and ends in June. The number of seed-filled fruits per kilogram ranges from 1,980 to 7,050 (900 to 3,200/lb), with an average of 3,920 (1,780/lb), making these the largest seeds of any maple species in the United States (38). Dissemination is mainly by wind and occasionally by water. The minimum seed-bearing age of trees is 11 years.

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    Seedling Development
    provided by Silvics of North America
    Silver maple seeds require no stratification or pretreatment. They are capable of germinating immediately at maturity. When seeds are covered, germination is hypogeal, the cotyledons remaining below ground. This is contrary to evidence reported previously which states that germination of all maples is epigeal (38), i.e., where the cotyledons are borne above the surface of the soil. When seeds germinate on bare soil, there is little development of the hypocotyl; the cotyledons shed their fruit coat and spread apart as in epigeal germination (6).

    Natural regeneration of young seedlings is most successful on seedbeds of moist, mineral soils with considerable organic matter (48). Seedlings that are established on bottomland sites are often stunted if the soil becomes saturated with water but generally recover when soil moisture drops. When growing in potassium-deficient soils, plants are stunted; young leaves are chlorotic and older leaves are necrotic (30). Initial growth of seedlings may be rapid, ranging from 30 to 90 cm (12 to 36 in) in the first year, but as they cannot compete with overtopping vegetation, first-year mortality is high if they are not released.

    Seedlings of silver maple require 2,000 to 2,500 hours of chilling to break dormancy. No differences were found in the time of first budbreak between cold-stored and nursery-lifted stock; there is a strong correlation between time of first budburst and root regeneration after the seedlings are transformed to environmental conditions suitable for growth. Maximum root regeneration takes place after 3,500 hours of chilling, but new roots can develop from November to May (47).

    The preferred size of seedlings for establishing plantations of silver maple in Ontario is 30 cm (12 in) in height and 6 mm (0.25 in) in root-collar diameter (43).

    Vegetative Reproduction-Silver maple can be propagated vegetatively. Softwood cuttings taken in July and again in October rooted 100 percent and 92 percent, respectively (34). Hardwood cuttings taken in early winter and stored in a cool place for 2 months rooted 84 percent when planted in moist sand (13). The treatment of silver maple cuttings with rooting hormones may be important to rooting success (18). Cuttings taken from young trees (5 years of age) root easily, but cuttings from mature trees (80 years old) root very poorly.

    Success in bud grafting is mixed. Graft-takes among clones may range from 0 to 40 percent when the branches from which bud sticks are collected have lateral, epicormic, and coppice origins. A high degree of success was recorded for bud grafts of the hybrid red maple x silver maple made on 4-month-old silver maple seedlings (48).

    Layering has been used successfully to propagate the species. Horizontally oriented stems have greater rooting success than vertical stems. Although layering occurs without hormone treatment, maximum results are obtained from treated stems. Prolific sprouting from the root collars and lower stems of living trees is characteristic of the species. Sprouts appear readily from stumps that are 30 cm (12 in) or less in diameter.

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Growth

    Growth and Yield
    provided by Silvics of North America
    Growth of young trees is seriously affected by competition from other vegetation. Height growth averaged 3.8 m (12.5 ft) after five growing seasons under plantation conditions where site preparation was intense and weed control was complete (44). With no site preparation, the average height of trees of the same age was only 0.5 m (1.6 ft). Seedling growth is increased by the application of 56 g (2 oz) in slow release packets of 19-5-17 (N-P-K) fertilizer at the time of planting (1).

    Growth in d.b.h. of pole-size trees increased from 6 mm (0.25 in) to 13 mm (0.5 in) following a stand thinning to a 5.2 m (17 ft) spacing. Basal area of the crop trees nearly doubled and wood volume tripled during a 10-year period following thinning. Unthinned stands had only one-third of the basal area and two-thirds of the volume of thinned stands during the period (18).

    Silver maple grows rapidly in both pure and mixed stands, some trees growing from 13 mm (0.5 in) to nearly 25 mm (1 in) in d.b.h. each year (18). Plantation silver maples (fig. 3) in southern Ontario averaged 25 m (81 ft) in height and 29.7 cm (11.7 in) in d.b.h. at 43 years of age (45). One tree in Vermont consistently grew 5 cm (2 in) in diameter each year. Mature trees have reached a height of 26 to 37 m (90 to 120 ft) with a trunk diameter of 91 to 122 m (36 to 48 in) (37).

    Since the species is usually found in mixed hardwood stands, data on yields for silver maple alone are not available.

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Management

    Management considerations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cover, seed, tree

    Young stems of silver maple can be maintained as low, dense cover for
    wildlife by frequent patch cutting [43].

    Where eastern cottonwood is the desired tree species, removal of
    competing silver maple stems is necessary to prevent silver maple
    dominance [43].  Silver maple is intermediate to resistant to 2,4-D, and
    susceptible to intermediate in resistance to 2,4,5-T [48].  There was no
    sprouting from silver maple stumps with direct application of undiluted
    triclopyr ester.  Other application methods were also effective [42].

    Silver maple can be managed on good sites for sawtimber, and on poor or
    wet sites for pulp or cordwood.  Rapid growth occurs in both pure and
    mixed stands [16].  In the northeastern and north-central United States,
    selective cuts and shelterwood cuts are silvical options for silver
    maple [55].  However, silver maple trees will sprout along the bole
    where they are exposed to sunlight, reducing the amount of clear new
    wood that can be formed.  It is recommended that silver maple be left in
    clumps where possible during selective harvest, or that openings not be
    so large as to allow full sunlight to fall on the trunks of remaining
    silver maple stems [42].  Clearcutting followed by pre-commercial
    treatments to remove undesirable stems is recommended [45].
    Clearcutting or group selection/uneven-aged management can result in
    good regeneration if seed sources are present.  Relatively large open
    areas are required for good seedling establishment [43].  In
    regenerating stands, cull trees need to be removed.  Girdled silver
    maple stems sprout vigorously; herbicide treatment is necessary to
    completely remove a cull silver maple from the stand [42].  Direct
    seeding has not been tested for silver maple [1].

    The riparian areas in which silver maple occurs are of prime value for
    wildlife.  No tree harvesting should occur within 50 feet (15 m) of
    streams [44].

    Silver maple has potential as a nurse tree for interplanting with black
    walnut (Juglans nigra) in Ontario.  Such interplantings showed the best
    5-year growth compared with black walnut alone, black walnut and white
    ash, or black walnut and autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) [64].

    Silver maple is subject to damage by winds, ice, wood rot and insects
    [14,40].  Relatively soft wood renders it susceptible to a number of
    wood rotting fungi.  The moist conditions in which it grows encourage a
    number of leaf molds and wilts to which silver maple is also susceptible
    [16].  Silver maple seedlings are susceptible to rodent damage,
    especially in heavy grass or weed cover [47].  Silver maple seedlings
    exposed to 0.1 ppm ozone under laboratory conditions experienced a
    reduction in leaf area and in total new dry weight after 40 days [31].

    Silver maple foliage is fed upon by later stage gypsy moth larvae only
    when preferred foliage is not available [21].
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Benefits

    Importance to Livestock and Wildlife
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    More info for the term: seed

    Silver maple produces abundant annual seed crops; the seeds are eaten by
    many birds, including evening grosbeaks, finches, wild turkeys and other
    game birds [1,28], and small mammals, especially squirrels and chipmunks
    [16,28].  Silver maple seeds were the most important food in the diet of
    breeding wood ducks in southeastern Missouri [13].  The early buds of
    silver maple are an important food for squirrels when cached food is
    depleted.  Silver maple bark ranks high as a food source for beavers in
    southeastern Ohio [16].  White-tailed deer and rabbits browse the
    foliage [28].

    In New Brunswick, wood ducks and goldeneyes frequently nest in silver
    maples.  The soft wood of silver maple has a tendency to develop
    cavities which are used by cavity-nesting birds and mammals, and which
    otherwise provide shelter for a number of species including raccoons,
    opossums, squirrels, owls, and woodpeckers [28].  Silver maple was one
    of a few species of deciduous trees used as communal roosts by
    red-winged blackbirds, common grackles, starlings, and brown-headed
    cowbirds in Ohio [41].

    Silver maple groves and the riparian communities in which silver maple
    occurs are excellent habitat for wildlife [43,55].  Silver maple is a
    dominant member of riparian communities in Indiana that are important to
    the endangered Indiana bat.  However, it was not listed as a species in
    which maternity colonies were observed [8].  Silver maple is often a
    dominant member of seasonally flooded flats, which are important to
    tree- and shrub-nesting species, colony-nesting waterbirds, and
    passerines.  It also occurs in wooded swamps and other riparian
    communities which are valuable breeding habitat for wood ducks, black
    ducks, herons, egrets, warblers, flycatchers, woodpeckers, thrushes,
    nuthatches, vireos, rose-breasted grosbeaks, hawks, owls, grackles, and
    many passerines [35].
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    bibliographic citation
    Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/
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    Other uses and values
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    More info for the term: hardwood

    Silver maple has been planted as an ornamental, but the limbs are easily
    broken in ice and snow storms [10].  Its use as an ornamental has
    declined due to frequent breakage, tendency to rot, and prolific
    sprouting.  The shallow roots invade water systems, the seeds are a
    nuisance, and it sheds a lot of twigs [71].

    Silver maple sap can be used to make maple syrup [16].

    Silver maple stands are considered as having lower aesthetic value than
    other bottomland hardwood types, and are therefore less valuable for
    recreation [43].
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    Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/
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    Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites
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    More info for the terms: hardwood, seed, succession

    In the Appalachian Mountains, succession on strip-mined lands can
    include silver maple if a seed source is present [56].  Silver maple was
    planted on surface-mined lands in Indiana between 1928 and 1975, and was
    listed sixth (in order of number planted) out of 26 hardwood species
    that were used for surface mine afforestation [9].

    Silver maple is suitable for bottomland reforestation in the lower
    Mississippi River Valley [1].
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    Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/
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    Wood Products Value
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    More info for the term: fuel

    Silver maple wood is moderately hard, brittle, and close-grained. It is
    not as heavy or hard as that of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) [50,74].
    Silver maple wood is used for furniture, boxes, crates, food containers,
    paneling, and core stock [10,40].  Silver maple is cut and sold with red
    maple as 'soft maple' lumber [16].  It is a valued timber species in the
    Midwest, and may prove to be equally valuable in the Northeast [43].

    On good sites silver maple can be managed for timber.  On poor sites,
    it can be managed for cordwood [43].  It has potential for
    short-rotation intensive cropping sytems for woody fuel biomass
    plantations [59].  Biomass yields at various spacings have been reported [18].
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    bibliographic citation
    Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/
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Taxonomy

    Common Names
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    silver maple
    soft maple
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    Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/
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    Synonyms
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    Acer sacchatum Mill. [46]
    A. dasycarpum Ehrh. [46]
    A. saccharinum var. laciniatum Pax [69]
    A. s. var. wieri Rehd. [69]
    Argentacer saccharinum (L.) Small [37]
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    Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/
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    Taxonomy
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    The currently accepted scientific name for silver maple is Acer
    saccharinum L. (Aceraceae) [10,34,37]. There are no currently accepted
    infrataxa.

    Hybrids (A. xfremanii Murr.) with red maple (A. rubrum) have been
    reported [37].
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    bibliographic citation
    Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/
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