November 2021 Tree of the Month: Sugar Maple

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale
Making Good Use of Fall Foliage

For November’s Tree of the Month, we picked something sweet for the fall season.  The Sugar Maple is a native maple to North Carolina and it is best known for… you guessed it, maple syrup!  Although maple syrup can be made from many different species of maple, the sugar maple (as its name suggests) has the highest concentration of sweet, sweet sugar.  The sugar maple is a great fall tree with vibrant, warm-toned leaves that will stand out in any landscape.  Read more about the sugar maple below:

Size at maturity

  • Height: 50-70 feet
  • Crown spread: 40-50 feet


  • Tall and with a dense, rounded crown.  Perfect for shade. 


  • Flowers are small and somewhat inconspicuous.  They are yellow-green in color and bloom in spring.


  • Sugar maples produce flat, winged seed pods called samaras.  They are typically light green in the summer, turn brown in the fall, and fall off by winter.  Samaras are produced annually.


  • Prefers full to part sun (at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day).


  • Prefers deep, well-drained soils that range from like slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.  Sugar maples have some drought tolerance.

Natural Range

  • Sugar maples are most common in the northeastern Unites States and southeast Canada.  North Carolina is on the southern end of its range and it can be found as far west as Minnesota.


  • On a residential level, sugar maples make great trees because they provide dense shade in the summer and vibrant fall color.  They are commercially used for the production of maple syrup.  They are also an important tree for forest ecosystems.

Environmental/wildlife benefits

  • The twigs and leaves of sugar maples make ideal food for any species of deer and some rabbits.  Squirrels and birds will at time feed on its seeds.  Its larger mature size and thick canopy make good nesting locations.

Fun fact

  • The Comfort Maple Conservation Area in Ontario, Canada is home to what is estimated to be one of the oldest sugar maples in North America.  It is about 500 years old!