Sugar Maple

Posted by shane - January 12, 2017 - A-Z Plant Maintenance, Trees - No Comments

Acer saccharum

Rare sugar maple in Red Deer. S. LePage photo.

It is unusual to find a sugar maple in Red Deer.  Although listed as Zone 3, I find this species to be marginally hardy, at best, and I think Zone 4+ would be more appropriate.  I’ve looked after only two specimens in the last 15 years, and for their age, they aren’t very big.  That said, they have a nice, round, compact form, beautiful big “Canadian flag” leaves in summer, and outstanding fall colour.  I wish I could confidently plant more of these in the city.  We did a trial on some at Mirror, AB, and they died over their first winter.  So we don’t plant this species, but we do appreciate them when we find them on the landscape.

For people after a more “Eastern” maple, I would suggest the silver maple, or cultivars thereof.  We tried a couple ‘Silver Queen’ silver maples two years ago and they made it through winter very well, although were slow to leaf-out.

Exposure

Full sun, but protected.

Pruning Time

Late spring and summer, while the tree is in full-leaf.  If you cut this tree too early in the spring, it will “bleed” sap from its wounds.  This can be quite alarming, so wait until the leaves are out.

Pruning

I would train a new specimen as a central-leader standard, with well spaced scaffold limbs.  Subordinate co-dominant leaders.

Crown Reduction

It will be hard enough to get it growing, so don’t worry about making it smaller.

 

(c) 2017 Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden & Tree Service Inc., Red Deer, AB.