Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil. Light Exposure: Full sun, Partial sun/shade, Full shade
The sugar maple is a large tree that can grow up to 35 metres tall and can live for more than 200 years. Its yellowish-green leaves are 8 to 20 centimetres long, and have five lobes. The shape of the leaf is well known — it's found on the Canadian flag and the sugar maple is the national tree of Canada. In the fall, the sugar maple's leaves turn yellow, brilliant orange or red. Its bark is smooth and gray, and becomes darker and splits into ridges that curl out as the tree gets older. The sugar maple is one of the most important Canadian trees, being, with the black maple, the major source of sap for making maple syrup. Other maple species can be used as a sap source for maple syrup, but some have lower sugar contents and/or produce more cloudy syrup than these two. Syrup production is dependent on the tree growing in cooler climates; as such, sugar maples in the southern part of its range produce little sap. Sugar maple was a favorite street and park tree during the 19th century because it was easy to propagate and transplant, is fairly fast-growing, and has beautiful fall color. The shade and the shallow, fibrous roots may interfere with grass growing under the trees. Deep, well-drained loam is the best rooting medium, although sugar maples can grow well on sandy soil which has a good buildup of humus. Light (or loose) clay soils are also well known to support sugar maple growth. Poorly drained areas are unsuitable, and the species is especially short-lived on flood-prone clay flats. Its salt tolerance is low and it is very sensitive to boron.