How to plant Acer saccharinum (white maple)

Acer saccharinum goes by many names, although the most common are white maple or silver maple. The truth is that this tree goes through several phases of color change depending on the season of the year in which it is found.

This majestic specimen deserves a complete file where we describe its main characteristics, uses and care guide. We are going to know where Acer saccharinum is  really distributed and which are the countries that represent it the most,


Acer saccharinum is a species of the Acer genus widely used in walks, trail guides and parks. They are majestic trees, tall and fast growing.

These specimens grow quite regularly in countries such as Canada and the United States. In fact, it is also commonly known as Canada maple . As a curiosity, maple syrup can be extracted from this species, although it is not the only one (also from Acer rubrum ).

The white maple, silver maple or Canadian maple is quite present in these territories and it is very easy to find it in parks and gardens . It has a great capacity to adapt to urban environments and its rapid growth draws a lot of attention to architects and landscapers.

Being a deciduous tree, its leaves go through several colored phases before falling off with the arrival of the cold. This is very interesting from the ornamental point of view, since it begins budding with an intense green, and with the arrival of autumn it goes through colors such as yellow, orange and brown.

Acer saccharinum has an average height of 20-30 m . Some isolated specimens have exceeded this height, but it is not normal. The trunk is gray, smooth bark and over the years small cracks or scales are formed.


The morphology of the leaves is the usual one in species of the Acer genus, of the palmate type,  and similar to other different species such as the plane tree, usually used in Spanish gardens and walks.

They have a size between 8 and 14 cm and a width of 6 to 12 cm. Green colors are a beginning that turn yellow and reddish with the arrival of autumn, before its fall.

Acer saccharinum is also known as silver maple because the underside has silver tones, especially when the sun’s rays fall on them.


Flowers of small size and winged type (known as samaras), with the beginning of flowering in early spring . They are unisexual flowers but have both types of flower on the same foot or tree.


  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family:  Sapindaceae
  • Genre: Acer
  • Species: Acer saccharinum


  • Acer saccharinum ‘Laciniatum’,
  • Acer saccharinum “Albovariegatum”
  • Acer saccharinum “Longifolium”
  • Acer saccharinum ‘Pyramidale’
  • Acer saccharinum “Tripartitum”
Common names:   sugar mapleCanada maple, saccharine maple, silver maple or American white maple.


An important aspect to value in Acer saccharinum  is its great adaptability to all types of environments. In fact, the US and Canada is huge and with many climatic factors.

Another important aspect is its excellent resistance to urban environments and pollution, which is why it is commonly used on roads, walks and streets. However, it has the handicap that, being a kind of deciduous leaf , when autumn comes the cleaning task, it multiplies the task of the cleaners and covers the entire asphalt with a blanket of leaves.


White maple adapts perfectly to all types of environments, so it can be grown in different areas. It prefers cold climates, but to get an idea of ​​its excellent adaptability, there are specimens growing in cold cities in Norway and others in hot areas of Florida.

In Spain , Acer saccharinum  can grow in Mediterranean environments, even in coastal areas. It especially values ​​conditions of higher humidity in midsummer and with high temperatures.


This species has good root capacity and tolerates different environments. Ideally, for the cultivation of Acer saccharinum  is a type of soil that conserves moisture well and remains slightly moist for a long time, as is typical of clay soils .

However, it adapts perfectly to calcareous soils , with alkaline pH and even with a sandy texture, although it is not ideal.

When transplanting a specimen of Acer saccharinum,  we will make a good hole in which we will incorporate at least 3-5 kg ​​of well decomposed manure mixed with the earth. It also helps to add a little nitrogen-rich NPK granular fertilizer, providing 50-100 grams per planting hole.

Read more:  importance of organic matter or manure


Due to its rapid growth, if we look for specimens that go into adulthood in the shortest possible time, the first years we will provide water .

The easiest thing for this type of tree is to use a fertigation system from drippers. Placing 1 dropper in the first 3 years of life, with irrigations of 40-60 min 1 time a week in winter and 3 times a week in summer is enough to multiply its root volume.

Adult species do not need to be watered, except in very hot climates with very low rainfall (<300 mm / year).

It is important to note that Acer saccharinum  is quite resistant to drought , despite not being the best condition for its care.

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Read more: watering guide for all plants


The usual way to multiply Acer saccharinum  specimens is by seed . However, it is the most comfortable option but not the ideal one, because not all the seeds that we can collect are viable (they suffer parthenocarpy).

Therefore, when we sow, we must sow a minimum of 3 to 5 seeds to have a higher success rate.

It is also common to buy already developed specimens, 1 or 1.5 meters high, not being a very expensive species to acquire due to its rapid growth.

Read more: plants for my coastal garden


One advantage of white maple for anyone considering incorporating it into their garden for shade is its low maintenance .

It is rarely pruned and only when we have a crossed or damaged branch, since it is not a chaotic tree in terms of growth and develops its secondary branches very well.

It accepts the transplant very well, so buying an already grown specimen can be a great idea to save time.

On the other hand, the main maintenance will be to remove the deciduous leaves when autumn begins, depending on temperatures.

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