Silver Maple

Posted by shane - January 8, 2015 - A-Z Plant Maintenance, Trees - No Comments

Acer saccharinum cvs.

A silver maple in its third season after planting. S. LePage photo.

A Silver Cloud maple in its third season after planting. S. LePage photo.

This is one of my favourite shade trees in recent years.  Silver maple has very attractive silvery-green foliage and a light grey bark.  It grows quickly in the right location, and is once formative pruning is complete, is relatively low-maintenance.  Silver maple gets large, up to 40′ tall and 30′ wide, and the biggest mistake I see people make with this tree is to plant it in a small spot right up against the fence, building, or alleyway.  That will be a problem long term.  There are some beautiful specimens in Red Deer but it is not a commonly planted tree.  We would like to see a lot more specimens in the Red Deer area in coming years and actively include this species in our landscape designs.

It is important to plant silver maple correctly.  If it is planted too deep, it will quickly die-back from the top.  This species doesn’t tolerate topping or crown reduction, and will decay heavily and quickly at topping cuts.  I find it very disappointing to remove a rare and once-beautiful silver maple because the homeowners needed it pruned, thought they were getting a deal, and unknowingly hired a fly-by-night topper to mutilate their tree, thus making it a future hazard and financial liability.


Full sun

Pruning Time

Late May until mid-September.


Prune as a central leader standard.  Subordinate co-dominant leaders and ensure well spaced scaffold (main) branches.  Annually, remove dead, damaged, or major crossing and rubbing branches.

Crown Reduction & Shaping

Not recommended.

(c) 2015 Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden & Tree Service Inc., Red Deer, AB.