The silver maple is an ornamental tree, that is preferred for its fast growth rate and adaptability to urban conditions. Here is a brief overview about this tree and its uses.
A commonly found maple tree in the United States, the silver maple is also known in many other names, like river maple, creek maple, silver leaf maple, soft maple, water maple, and white maple. The name silver maple is derived from the silvery underside of its leaves. Its alternate name water maple explains its nature of growing near water bodies. Even though they like moist soil for a healthy growth, these trees are highly adaptable, and can be grown easily in other conditions too. It has a very fast growth rate, and can be transplanted and propagated without much efforts. The tree has a beautiful and dense foliage that turns yellow during autumn.
Most of the silver maples are medium to large in size. The growth rate of these trees may slow down as they grow. Silver maple trees can grow to a height of around 50 to 80 feet. Some of them may have a length of more than 100 feet. Silver maples produce numerous branches that make the tree dense with foliage. In most cases, the crown has a roughly oval or rounded shape.
The Silver maple leaf has an exquisite shape with a silvery underside. On the upper side, these leaves are green in color. The leaves of this maple tree have five lobes with deep indentation between the lobes. They have slender stalks. Most of these trees develop a pale yellow fall foliage, and this color change lasts for a very short period. However, there are certain cultivars that have bright yellow, orange, and even red fall foliage. In case of young trees, the bark is smooth with a silvery gray color. This changes as the trees age, and in older ones, you can find a dark gray bark with a rough texture. Most of these maples have short trunks with a lot of ascending branches. The flowers of this maple tree are greenish-yellow to reddish in color, and are not conspicuous. They transform to winged seeds during summer.
The silver maple is commonly used for bottom land reforestation and for rehabilitation of degraded and surface-mined lands. As in case of certain other maple tree species, even the silver maple is used for syrup extraction. The syrup extracted from the silver maple is found to be low in sugar content, and is rated as satisfactory. The sap of this tree is used in some regions, as a remedy for cough and liver complaints. Even though not popular for furniture making, the wood of silver maple tree is sometimes used for this purpose too.
If you are interested in growing silver maples, get the seedlings from your local nursery. Gain a thorough knowledge about the various aspects of growing silver maples, beforehand. As the roots of these trees can cause damage to drainage pipes, foundations, and sidewalks, it will be better to plant them away from such structures. Plant them in locations with moist, well-drained soil, and adequate sunlight. These trees are vulnerable to diseases and pests. So, in case of diseases and pests, consult the local nursery or a horticulturist.