identifying sugar maple

v1rtOctober 19, 2008

Hi folks,

I need some tips. I would like to know how to identify a real sugar maple tree. This way, when I buy it from nursery, I won't get ripped off. Some nurseries just put a label making us think that it's what it is.

Is the leaf from sugar maple different from other maple trees?

Thanks,

Neil

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kaitain4(7)

Neil,

Yes the leaf is definitely different from some other maples. The symbol on the Canadian flag is a sugar maple leaf, so that should give you the basic shape. However there are other maples that look similar and which you should be aware of - the most notorious being Norway maples - which are weedy trees and not nearly as pretty in the fall.

If you're worried about getting the right maple, I would suggest ordering on-line. There are a number of nurseries that specialize in maples or which are extremely reputable. I would suggest ForestFarm ( http:\\www.forestfarm.com ). On their web site you can search by Common Name for "sugar maple" and it will take you to the correct page in their catalog. There will be several types listed, all of which are wonderful, and I would choose a 5 gallon size if possible. I have ordered from this nursery and they are excellent!

Regards,

K4

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 7:58PM
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v1rt

Awesome! I'll try ForestFarm.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 8:57PM
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v1rt

I tried their site and found four sugar maples. I don't know which one I should buy. I want something similar to the picture I attached. Do they usually send healthy tree?

Here are the 4.

Acer saccharum Laciniatum CUT-LEAF SUGAR MAPLE Dec
Acer saccharum Sweet Shadow CUT-LEAF SUGAR MAPLE Dec (z4)
Acer saccharum Green Mountain GREEN MTN SUGAR MAPLE Dec (z4)Acer saccharum SUGAR MAPLE Dec (z4) (ENa,syrup)

I'm looking for something that has bright orange, stunning red, yellow, scarlet color during fall.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 9:09PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Green Mountain has good reliable color, however not sugar maple has exactly the same colors every year. It varies with the weather. What's more all those colors to the max are not likely at one time. However I very much like our Fall Fiesta (patent name "Bailsta") which has excellent color, and is selected for color. You probable won't be able to find them mail-order, however you local nurseries in the Chicago area should have them. I you want to be certain you get the real deal, then you can look for one with a Bailey's nursery tag on it. Bailey's is a large producer that originated the cultivar/variety, and it originates from a Minnesota seed source. There are many cultivars that are good fit for Chicago area, however be aware that "Caddo", "John Pair", and "Autumn Splendor" are not, as they originate from SW Oklahoma, and may not handle to cold very well.

If you want to search for my user name "Arktrees" I have written about my personal experiences in other posts FWIW. Let us know what you end up doing.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 10:17PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

"I you want to be certain you get the real deal,"

Should have read "If you want to be certain...."

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 10:19PM
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v1rt

Hi Arktrees,

Thanks for the input. I looked at my backyard plan again and I'm asking myself if I really have a place for the Sugar Maple in case the Sunburst Honeylocust I am selling will not sell.

This is how my backyard almost looks like now with the exception of the shape of the beds. I will do the bed shape in spring.

Do I have a space for the Sugar Maple?

The perennials you see on the left bed are really not there, only the lilacs.

Right backyard bed. Prairie Fire crab apple bottom near house.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 11:39PM
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kaitain4(7)

I think you have room. You could always get a more columnar variety (ones that grown into a narrow spire rather than broad).

To answer your question, I have always gotten nice trees from ForestFarm. Any of the ones you selected will be nice, or the locally grown ones (Baileys) mentioned would also be good.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 9:55AM
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v1rt

I went to the nursery today and saw Green Mountain Sugar maple in 2" caliper. I couldn't recall how it look like. I should have taken a picture. Oh, the tree was from Baileys.

Anyways, I took a shot of their 15+ years old sugar maple. It's so gorgeous.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 9:27PM
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kaitain4(7)

Beautiful pictures! That Green Mountain is a nice variety. It has thicker leaves, which makes it hold up better in windy areas.

I live in the country and have wild maple trees all over my property. Red Maple, Black Maple, Sugar Maple, and Florida Maple. All are beautiful! I would post a few pictures for you but the leaves haven't changed here yet...

Regards,

K4

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 10:17PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Yes I would say you have room. Green Mountain is very nice, and there are lots of them around my area. They have been around as a cultivar since the 60's if I remember correctly. Tired and true, and has very nice color in my area. Last year it came down to between a "Green Mountain" and a "Fall Fiesta". The "Fall Fiesta" won because it's colors were a little brighter, and it grows faster according to the patent application.

Bailey's does produce "Green Mountain" (but they are hardly the only ones), along with "Flax Mill", "Fall Fiesta", "Commemoration", and the standard species. Another very large producer is Schmidt & Son Co. Nursery is another large producer you may see. Not to say that these are the only ones to trust. For my opinion if they are confident enough to put the companies tag on it, then I would think you would be fine. Our Commemoration came from Lowe's. It had a good price, was very healthy, fit the description of "Commemoration" and had the Schmidt tag attached. So look at places you don't expect because you never know what you will find. Also be sure to look up planting instructions for your soil type. I have clay, and plant differently because of it.

Lastly, here are a couple web address for you to look at.

http://www.baileynurseries.com/pressrelease/2270

http://bailey.virtual-services.net/presslib/info/0047 (click on the pictures)

http://bailey.virtual-services.net/presslib/info/0048
(click on the pictures)

http://bailey.virtual-services.net/presslib/browse/trees/botanical/3 (more pictures)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 11:56PM
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v1rt

Cool! I'm actually having a hard time if I should plant a sugar maple or just go with other small trees. If I plant a sugar maple, I don't know where to put it in my yard.

Here how my yard looks like now.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 12:15AM
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v1rt

Hi arktrees,

Are you saying that Fall Fiesta(during fall) looks more like the pictures I posted recently as compared to Green Mountain?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 12:23AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

"Are you saying that Fall Fiesta(during fall) looks more like the pictures I posted recently as compared to Green Mountain? "

I can not say anything for Chicago. Only can say that patent claims it was brighter and more colorful than the other sugar maples they were growing. The variation is color depend on local conditions that will vary from year to year. Our FF last year was mostly red-orange with some green and a little yellow. However last year was a "red" year. Red seemed to be favored by everything. But it has not yet fully changed this year, so can't say. In addition it's only been in the ground for 1 year (has done great thought), and won't show it's true nature for a couple more years. There are no absolute answers.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 7:23AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

v1rtu0s1ty,
I thought you might appreciate these pictures. This is our Fall Fiesta just before I planted it last year. This was very late in the fall season, and late in the day, so the sunlight is redder than usual, plus the tree was in a #10 container and had arrived a few weeks before. So keep in mind the color is not quit right, and again last year was a red year, with lots of red everywhere. In fact some of the local Oaks were probable the most intense red I had ever seen PERIOD. Can't yet say what it will do in a couple years after it has gotten fully acclimated to the local climate.

Again the first three pictures are from last fall just before planting. And the last picture is from Mid-July of this year.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 9:31PM
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dendo(z5CT)

Best way to determine if a maple is Sugar or Norway is to pull a leaf off and look at the base of the stem.If it bleeds a clear substance it is Sugar . If it bleeds a white substance it is Norway .Acer Mono also will bleed white substance and Norway can be used for an understock for grafting Mono cultivars .

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 10:30PM
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v1rt

arktrees,

The Fall Fiesta you post is beautiful. However I was looking into more yellow-orange-red combination. But yeah, there are many variables to the color change.

Looks like that's a 1" caliper right?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 10:36PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Yeap, it was s 1" caliper. It grew about 12"-18", and is more like 1 1/2" caliper now. I'm going to measure once the leaves fall. Very good growth for the first growing season in the ground.

The color is last years LATE season color under unusual circumstances. The container Fall Fiesta at the nursery where I bought this tree are more burn-orange and yellow so far this year, with very little of Red-Orange as seen in my pictures. Our own tree is looking to be mostly orange, but has yet to develop real color, and it may not. Trees frequently will not for some years after transplanting. Autumn Flame Red maples were planted by the developer in the area, and this is the first year they are producing any significant color after 3+ years to establish.

So again, that is why I say, I can't say what our FF will end up looking like, and Chicago is likely to be different yet again. I posted the pictures just so you have something that is not marketing to see. Do whatever you like. But you can't guarantee tree color.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 11:37PM
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