Maple trees are known for their beautiful autumn colors. Every year, they put on a display of lovely shades of brown, orange, yellow, adorning the streets, parks, and gardens of the Keystone State and various other parts of the US. Some trees even sport different colors simultaneously.
Maples are a favorite among homeowners due to their beauty, shape, and quick growth. They also work well as street and specimen trees as they attract birds and other wildlife and provide much-needed shade during summers. They are also drought-tolerant and easy to care for. For all these reasons, Maple trees are a great choice for Pennsylvanian landscapes.
While most maples are deciduous woody plants, species range from massive upright trees to multi-stemmed shrubs. The Mid-Atlantic part of the country, including Pennsylvania, is home to a number of Maples and each tree has its own unique characteristics. It gives gardeners plenty of choices when it comes to picking the ideal Maple tree in Pennsylvania.
However, keep in mind that most maples are shallow-rooted, so there’s always a chance of roots pushing through sidewalks and pavements if the trees are planted too close. Plus, while they are drought-tolerant, these trees seek moisture deep in the ground. Their roots often infiltrate water pipes and sewer lines over the years.
Therefore, it is important to understand the behavior of the maple species you are considering and choose the right spot for it accordingly to avoid any inconvenience down the line. Read on to learn about some of the best maple tree types to plant in Pennsylvania.
1. Norway Maple (Acer Platanoides)
Norway maple is not a native to Pennsylvania. The species was imported to the US from northern Europe as ornamental specimens. However, today, it is commonly found in parks and along the streets all over Pennsylvania. The average height of a mature Norway maple tree is about 50 feet. The leaves have five lobes with coarse teeth. These trees are highly adaptable and easy to grow. However, keep in mind that they have shallow roots and offer a lot of shade, which makes it difficult for grass and other plants to grow underneath.
2. Striped Maple (Acer Pensylvanicum)
Stripe maple is highly distinctive thanks to its unique green and white striped bark. It features wide leaves with three main lobes. The foliage turns a beautiful shade of yellow during fall while winged seeds hang in clusters. These trees prefer a damp climate, full to partial shade, and well-drained soil. In many areas, they are also known as moosewood as moose and deer love to munch on it. You may have to use a deer net to protect young trees from wildlife. Mature striped maple trees generally grow up to 30 to 35 feet in height.
3. Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum)
Did you know that the sweet maple syrup that we love comes from the sap of the sugar maple tree? Also known as Rock maple or Hard maple, these trees are native to eastern North America. Usually grown for their shade and ornamental value, they are also found in Pennsylvania in abundance. They feature a dense crown of three to five-lobe leaves that turn various shades, from gold to scarlet, in the fall. The bark is smooth and grayish in color. Under favorable conditions, sugar maple trees normally reach heights of about 80 to 115 feet.
4. Red Maple (Acer Rubrum)
Red maple is a medium-sized deciduous tree. It grows with a rounded or oval crown. It is a relatively fast grower, growing faster than Sugar and Norway maples, but slower than the Silver maple variety. The leaves are typically three-lobed are dark green with pointed tips and toothed margins. As the name suggests, foliage, twigs, and flowers are all tinged with red. Flowers appear in late winter or early spring, adding to the aesthetic appeal of the tree. The tree prefers moist soil and full to partial shade. It is also very cold hardy. It reaches a height of 40 to 70 feet.
5. Silver Maple (Acer Saccharinum)
Silver maple is another popular choice of maple in Pennsylvania. These trees get their names from the silver undersides of the otherwise green leaves. However, they go by a variety of common names, including creek maple, soft maple, silverleaf maple, water maple, swamp maple, white maple, large maple, etc. It features five-lobed leaves and an attractive grey to dark brown bark that complements the rounded, open-spreading crown. Yellowish-green flowers appear in summer. The tree can grow up to about 50 to 80 feet in height.
6. Box Elder Maple (Acer Negundo)
Box Elder Maple is a weak-wooded but fast-growing medium-sized tree. It is found almost all over the US. Unlike other Maple trees, Box Elder produces odd-pinnate compound leaves with 3 or 5 lobes. Foliage is light green in color and turns to a stunning shade of yellow in fall. Greenish-yellow flowers bloom during summer, but they are not showy and add little to the beauty of the magnificent tree. The trees tolerate a wide variety of soil but are intolerant of shade. They typically reach a height of 30 to 50 feet.