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Tree Identification: Sugar Maple

The Sugar Maple is well known for being the Wisconsin State tree and its beautiful fall foliage. You may recognize the leaf from its presence on the Canadian flag. It is also famous for its maple syrup. Every year during spring, a single tree can produce up to 60 gallons of syrup a year.

This tree is native to eastern and central North America. It grows best in rich and well-drained soils. It is susceptible to droughts, excessive heat, and high salt content. Its leaves have five lobes and are paired opposite to each other along the stem. The fruit of this tree is one-inch winged seeds that fall from the canopy in pairs. These are called samaras but are referred to by many people as “whirlybirds”. As the seeds fall this tree is able to regenerate naturally.

A great thing about Sugar Maples is that they are not susceptible to many serious diseases or insect problems. Verticillium Wilt is a fatal fungal disease that can affect maples but with proper watering and fertilizing of an infected tree, it is possible to greatly extend their life. Sugar Maples have many great attributes that have made them a fan-favorite among the Wisconsin Northwoods.

– Kate Handberg, Forester/Environmental Specialist