A medium to large tree with spreading branches forming a
variably rounded to informally spreading crown. A fast-growing
tree subject to iron and manganese chlorosis on high pH soils
which may cause dieback or eventual death. Often called soft
maple because the wood is the softest of the maples used for
lumber. The largest tree in North Dakota is 66 feet tall with a
canopy spread of 72 feet.
Leaves and Buds
Bud Arrangement – Opposite.
Bud Color – Red to reddish-brown; male flattened, ovoid;
Bud Size – 1/8 inch long.
Leaf Type and Shape – Simple, five-lobed with deep sinuses.
Leaf Margins – Ends of lobes sometimes deeply and doublyacuminate
Leaf Surface – Smooth, glabrescent below.
Leaf Length – 3 to 6 inches.
Leaf Width – 2½ to 5 inches.
Leaf Color – Medium-green above, silver-white beneath;
yellow fall color.
Flowers and Fruits
Flower Type – Borne in dense clusters.
Flower Color – Greenish-yellow to deep orangish.
Fruit Type – Double-winged samara (schizocarp).
Fruit Color – Brownish-tan.
Growth Habit – Upright with strong spreading branches,
with semi-pendulous branches which turn up at the ends.
Texture – Medium-coarse, summer; medium-coarse, winter.
Crown Height – 40 to 65 feet.
Crown Width – 30 to 50 feet.
Bark Color – Gray to gray-brown.
Root System – Shallow, vigorous, grass-feeding root system
can cause sidewalks to heave and buckle.
Soil Texture – Performs poorly on tight clay soils.
Soil pH – 4.5 to 7.0. Not adapted to saline/alkaline soils.
Windbreak Suitability Group – 1, 3.
USDA Zone 3.