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Silver Maple?

 
Ryan Bruce
Posts: 5
Location: Montana
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Hi everyone, I did an introduction a while back and touched on my plan to start semi foresting the family ranch.
Funds are tight so when the silver maples here in front of my house in billings dropped their seeds I planted about 60 of them and now I have almost 50 seedlings!
My question is how are these at land rehab? I thought that they would be amazing at adding organic matter because the trees in my yard put out an amazing (horrible being my yard but amazing if in an open field) amount if material between leaves, buds, and seeds.
I read that they are shallow rooted, is this less desirable? Also, how is it best to place the trees for best organic material dispersal? On a hill? Where the wind is higher?
Anything at all that you guys know about silver maple would be great!
Thanks again!
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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I find it odd that there are silver maples in MT at all. I thought it was mostly an Eastern tree, and, what is more, prefers wet spots. Is your yard near a creek or under irrigation? If so, and especially if you don't see silver maples growing around in the wider landscape, I would question their suitability for general broadscale planting in your area. Urban and suburban areas in otherwise dry climates can be a bit deceptive.....all kinds of trees show up there, seemingly unirrigated and yet thriving. Some of this may be recruitment....the trees were watered when small, and once roots reach a certain depth, they can go on growing without. And roots can reach far and wide....looking for leaky pipes, septic fields, and other sources of moisture, sometimes at a distance significantly beyond the crown's spread. Silver maple and other wetland trees like willow and poplar are notorious water seekers and their roots often find their way into trouble in the urban/suburban setting......
 
Ryan Bruce
Posts: 5
Location: Montana
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I have 4 massive ones in my yard. Smallest one is 3.5 feet in diameter. I have some areas on the ranch that pool water and one area where the water is close enough to the surface to fill a post hole. We are lucky enough to have 2 artesian wells on the ranch. Will I have to plant near these wet areas? I want to get as much good out of these trees as I can and I definitely want to give these seedlings a chance at life.
 
Dan Tutor
Posts: 103
Location: Zone 5, Maine Coast
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Looks like a pretty good choice to me!
( big Wikipedia cut and paste incoming)

The silver maple tree is a relatively fast-growing deciduous tree, commonly reaching a height of 15–25 m (50–80 ft), exceptionally 35 m (115 ft). Its spread will generally be 11–15 m (35–50 ft) wide. A 10-year-old sapling will stand about 8 m (25 ft) tall. It is often found along waterways and in wetlands, leading to the colloquial name "water maple". It is a highly adaptable tree, although it has higher sunlight requirements than other maple trees.



Silver maple leaves
The leaves are palmate, 8–16 cm long and 6–12 cm broad, with deep angular notches between the five lobes. The 5–12 cm long, slender stalks of the leaves mean that even a light breeze can produce a striking effect as the downy silver undersides of the leaves are exposed. The autumn color is less pronounced than in many maples, generally ending up a pale yellow, although some specimens can produce a more brilliant yellow and even orange and red colorations. The tree has a tendency to color and drop its leaves slightly earlier in autumn than other maples.



Samaras and leaves forming in April.
The flowers are in dense clusters, produced before the leaves in early spring,[3] with the seeds maturing in early summer. The fruit are samaras, each containing a single seed, and winged, in pairs, small (5–10 mm diameter), the wing about 3–5 cm long. The fruit are the largest of any native maple. Although the wings provide for some transport by air, the fruit are heavy and are also transported by water. Silver Maple and its close cousin Red Maple are the only Acer species which produce their fruit crop in spring instead of fall. The seeds of both trees have no epigeal dormancy and will germinate immediately.

On mature trunks, the bark is gray and shaggy. On branches and young trunks, the bark is smooth and silvery gray.

Cultivation and uses[edit]


Freeman maple leaf (Acer x freemanii)
Wildlife uses the silver maple in various ways. In many parts of the eastern U.S., the large rounded buds are one of the primary food sources for squirrels during the spring, after many acorns and nuts have sprouted and the squirrels' food is scarce. The seeds are also a food source for squirrels, chipmunks and birds. The bark can be eaten by beaver and deer. The trunks tend to produce cavities, which can shelter squirrels, raccoons, opossums, owls and woodpeckers.[4]

Native Americans used the sap of wild trees to make sugar, as medicine, and in bread. They used the wood to make baskets and furniture.[4] An infusion of bark removed from the south side of the tree is used by the Mohegan for cough medicine.[5] It is also used by other tribes for various purposes.[6]

Today the wood can be used as pulp for making paper.[7] Lumber from the tree is used in furniture, cabinets, flooring, musical instruments, crates and tool handles, because it is light and easily worked. Because of the silver maple's fast growth, it is being researched as a potential source of biofuels.[4] Silver maple produces a sweet sap, but it is generally not used by commercial sugarmakers because its sugar content is lower than in other maple species.[8]



Silver maple bark
The silver maple is often planted as an ornamental tree because of its rapid growth and ease of propagation and transplanting. It is highly tolerant of urban situations, and is frequently planted next to streets. However, its quick growth produces brittle wood, and is commonly damaged in storms. The silver maple's root system is shallow and fibrous, and easily invades septic fields and old drain pipes; it can also crack sidewalks and foundations. It is a vigorous resprouter, and if not pruned, will often grow with multiple trunks. Although it naturally is found near water, it can grow on drier ground if planted there. In ideal natural conditions, A. saccharinum may live up 130 years, but in urban environments often 80 or less.

Following WWII, silver maples were commonly used as a landscaping and street tree in suburban housing developments and cities due to their rapid growth, especially as a replacement for the blighted American Elm. However, they fell out of favor for this purpose because of brittle wood, unattractive form when not pruned or trained, and tendency to produce large numbers of volunteer seedlings, and nowadays it is much less popular for this purpose to the point where some towns and cities banned its use as a street tree.

It is also commonly cultivated outside its native range, showing tolerance of a wide range of climates, growing successfully as far north as central Norway and south to Orlando, Florida. It can thrive in a Mediterranean climate, as at Jerusalem and Los Angeles, if summer water is provided. It is also grown in temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere: Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, the southern states of Brazil (as well as in a few low-temperature locations within the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais).[citation needed]

The silver maple is closely related to the red maple (Acer rubrum), and can hybridise with it. The hybrid variation is known as the Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii). The Freeman maple is a popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, combining the fast growth of silver maple with the less brittle wood and less invasive roots of the red maple.

The silver maple is the favoured host of the parasitic cottony maple scale.[citation needed] and the maple bladder gall mite Vasates quadripedes.[9]
 
Dan Tutor
Posts: 103
Location: Zone 5, Maine Coast
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To paraphrase: fast growing, adaptable to a wide range of climates, useful wood and sap, pretty, self-perpetuating, possibly medicinal. Not bad!
 
Denis Huel
Posts: 88
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Hi Ryan. I live in Saskatchewan approximately 60 miles north of the MT border.

After noticing some very large silver maples in a nearby city some time ago, I grew a few seedlings. Some I planted myself and others I gave away. I planted mine on good sites, low areas, with good soils and moisture. After a slow start mainly due to deer browsing they are now 20+ feet high and growing rapidly. Several that were given away were planted in rural yards, poor soils, dry with crested wheatgrass growing all around. These have not fared so well and at the same age (15+ years) are only 8 ft tall and subject to frequent dieback.

Encouraged by my success I grew 150 seedlings two years ago and planted them on the farm last year. The sites I chose were wetland/riparian areas with good, non-saline soils. Many of the areas have shrub willows present. I protected the seedlings from deer with a wire cage. Although it is too early to claim success, I am again encouraged by the very high survival after 1 yr (>90%). A wet fall, lots of snow and a wet start to this year has left a few in shallow standing water but they have leafed out and I have not lost hope they will survive . I planted about 250 seeds this morning for another round next year. Only time will tell but I am very optimistic these trees will survive and grow to be a valuable addition to my farm.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 520
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Genius! OK that handles spring for squirrel-policy-of-appeasement project. What would be a good supply of food for them for the gap-month--August? other than my clients' tomatoes? Yeah this is me doing some yarwork for someone and throwing a bunch of permactulture ideas out there to see what sticks. She like the idea of growing some food and is very committed to an ethical life, but she has frequent questions about viability in the suburban setting where she is--we're looking at handling squirrels and rabbits. Thanks!


Denis Huel wrote:Hi Ryan. I live in Saskatchewan approximately 60 miles north of the MT border.

After noticing some very large silver maples in a nearby city some time ago, I grew a few seedlings. Some I planted myself and others I gave away. I planted mine on good sites, low areas, with good soils and moisture. After a slow start mainly due to deer browsing they are now 20+ feet high and growing rapidly. Several that were given away were planted in rural yards, poor soils, dry with crested wheatgrass growing all around. These have not fared so well and at the same age (15+ years) are only 8 ft tall and subject to frequent dieback.

Encouraged by my success I grew 150 seedlings two years ago and planted them on the farm last year. The sites I chose were wetland/riparian areas with good, non-saline soils. Many of the areas have shrub willows present. I protected the seedlings from deer with a wire cage. Although it is too early to claim success, I am again encouraged by the very high survival after 1 yr (>90%). A wet fall, lots of snow and a wet start to this year has left a few in shallow standing water but they have leafed out and I have not lost hope they will survive . I planted about 250 seeds this morning for another round next year. Only time will tell but I am very optimistic these trees will survive and grow to be a valuable addition to my farm.
 
Dave Lodge
Posts: 93
Location: New England
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Silver Maple is like Red Maple. It needs a lot of sun and is very adaptable. Will grow faster with more water, and slower with less. It also has a short lifespan (75-120 years). Changing rivers and streams keep new environments that they go into and then die out as larger, longer lived trees take over. I have seen it growing well in pure sand.

Silver Maple is notorious for being messy and dropping branches and limbs in storms.

Following WWII, silver maples were commonly used as a landscaping and street tree in suburban housing developments and cities due to their rapid growth, especially as a replacement for the blighted American Elm. However, they fell out of favor for this purpose because of brittle wood, unattractive form when not pruned or trained, and tendency to produce large numbers of volunteer seedlings, and nowadays it is much less popular for this purpose to the point where some towns and cities banned its use as a street tree.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Maple
 
Dave Lodge
Posts: 93
Location: New England
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Genius! OK that handles spring for squirrel-policy-of-appeasement project. What would be a good supply of food for them for the gap-month--August? other than my clients' tomatoes? Yeah this is me doing some yarwork for someone and throwing a bunch of permactulture ideas out there to see what sticks. She like the idea of growing some food and is very committed to an ethical life, but she has frequent questions about viability in the suburban setting where she is--we're looking at handling squirrels and rabbits. Thanks!


Squirrels here are going crazy over the red oak nuts before they ripen.
 
Dave Lodge
Posts: 93
Location: New England
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Silver maple is also an interest to bees as it flowers earlier than most other plants. See a lot of bees on the trees.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 520
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Thanks, guys. Well, that explains why people have so much trouble with urban gardening--you're off to a rocky start from the beginning because the silver maples have been eradicated--not a lack of air rifle problem but a lack of silver maple problem!
 
Ryan Bruce
Posts: 5
Location: Montana
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Dave Lodge wrote:Silver maple is also an interest to bees as it flowers earlier than most other plants. See a lot of bees on the trees.


^THIS I love this… The ranch is lacking in the bee department.
 
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