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Tree Campus: Silver Maple

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Silver Maple

Acer saccharinum (SAPINDACEAE)



Central-East North America



"Silver maple produces abundant annual seed crops; the seeds are eaten by many birds, including evening grosbeaks, finches, wild turkeys and other game birds, and small mammals, especially squirrels and chipmunks . Silver maple seeds were the most important food in the diet of breeding wood ducks in southeastern Missouri. The early buds of silver maple are an important food for squirrels when cached food is depleted. Silver maple bark ranks high as a food source for beavers in southeastern Ohio. White-tailed deer and rabbits browse the foliage.

In New Brunswick, wood ducks and goldeneyes frequently nest in silver maples. The soft wood of silver maple has a tendency to develop cavities which are used by cavity-nesting birds and mammals, and which otherwise provide shelter for a number of species including raccoons, opossums, squirrels, owls, and woodpeckers. Silver maple was one of a few species of deciduous trees used as communal roosts by red-winged blackbirds, common grackles, starlings, and brown-headed cowbirds in Ohio.

Silver maple groves and the riparian communities in which silver maple occurs are excellent habitat for wildlife. Silver maple is a dominant member of riparian communities in Indiana that are important to the endangered Indiana bat. However, it was not listed as a species in which maternity colonies were observed. Silver maple is often a dominant member of seasonally flooded flats, which are important to tree- and shrub-nesting species, colony-nesting waterbirds, and passerines. It also occurs in wooded swamps and other riparian communities which are valuable breeding habitat for wood ducks, black ducks, herons, egrets, warblers, flycatchers, woodpeckers, thrushes, nuthatches, vireos, rose-breasted grosbeaks, hawks, owls, grackles, and many passerines." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Silver maple has been planted as an ornamental, but the limbs are easily broken in ice and snow storms. Its use as an ornamental has declined due to frequent breakage, tendency to rot, and prolific sprouting. The shallow roots invade water systems, the seeds are a nuisance, and it sheds a lot of twigs.

Silver maple sap can be used to make maple syrup.

Silver maple stands are considered as having lower aesthetic value than other bottomland hardwood types, and are therefore less valuable for recreation." [1]



"Silver maple wood is moderately hard, brittle, and close-grained. It is not as heavy or hard as that of sugar maple (Acer saccharum). Silver maple wood is used for furniture, boxes, crates, food containers, paneling, and core stock. Silver maple is cut and sold with red maple as 'soft maple' lumber. It is a valued timber species in the Midwest, and may prove to be equally valuable in the Northeast.

On good sites silver maple can be managed for timber. On poor sites, it can be managed for cordwood. It has potential for short-rotation intensive cropping sytems for woody fuel biomass plantations. Biomass yields at various spacings have been reported." [1]




[1] Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Acer saccharinum. In: Fire Effects Information System,. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available:

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