Driving around New Jersey, you see graceful trees with interesting leaves in yards, some with red leaves, others in green. These are Maple Trees. They can be short and wide, or towering and look good in all seasons. Maples trees are known for maple syrup, otherwise know as sugaring, as well as the seed pods which when thrown up in the air, turn into helicopters bringing a smile to adults and joy to children. The ‘helicopters’ or whirlybirds are actually how maple trees disperse their seed. They can live at least a hundred years and upwards to 400 years old.

Interesting facts about maple trees:

  • Leaves are divided in 3 to 9 lobes (rarely to 13). The edges of the leaves are slightly serrated with varying sizes in teeth.
  • Some maples are an early spring source of pollen and nectar for bees.
  • Japanese Ornamental maple trees can be used for bonsai.
  • Leaves change color from green to different shades of yellow, orange, and red during the autumn. The flowers can be green, yellow, orange, or red in color and contain both male and female parts instead of separate female and male parts of individual trees.
  • Maple tree roots continue to grow.

Maple Trees to consider:

Sugar Maple


A great shade tree, it is also tolerant of being in the shade. It has darker green leaves which turn yellow, burnt orange or red in Autumn. It does not thrive in soil with a high salt content. The tree is large tree with a densely rounded crown. The leaves are medium green in color with three or five lobes; the foliage turns yellow orange in fall.

This maple is the first choice for those seeking to make maple syrup, as the sap contains a larger percentage of plant sugars than with any other maple species. It is a good tree for residential properties as it does not do well in urban conditions as it is not tolerant of compacted soils, road salts, or pollution. It does better in shade than most large deciduous trees.

The Black maple is now considered a subspecies of the sugar maple. It displays similar characteristics: dense, rounded crown; dark, furrowed bark; and brilliant fall color. The wood is stronger, stiffer, harder, and denser than all the other commercial species of maple.

Red Maple


Red maple trees grow between 40 to 60 feet in height. The red maple lives up to its name at many points throughout the year. The red spring buds turn into red seed structure (samaras) hanging from reddish twigs. Reds return to the tree with the fall color change.

This medium-sized maple is a common landscape tree in North America, a classic shade tree with a rounded or oval-shaped crown. Three-lobed or five-lobed green leaves usually turn reddish in fall, though the hues can be unpredictable. Fall color also varies according to variety, ranging from greenish-yellow to red to burgundy.

The red maple is a fast grower without the bad habits of fast growers. It quickly makes shade without the compromise of becoming brittle and messy. Nectar from the flowers is a valuable food source for native bees and honeybees. This wildlife-friendly species is a host for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Rosy Maple Moth and Cecropia Moth. The caterpillars provide an early spring food source for birds.

The Japanese Maple


This maple has around 400 hundred varieties, many with very deep red leaves, and often other interesting traits, such as dissected leaves and a weeping growth habit.

Silver Maple


The undersides of this maple tree's leaves are silver and flash attractively in the wind. The silver maple is one of the trees you are most likely to see throughout the U.S. since it naturalizes very easily and grows very quickly. In a neglected yard, seedlings may quickly spout up and overtake a landscape. In fall, this tree turns attractive shades of yellow, orange, or red. This is another shallow-rooted tree that should be kept away from areas with pipes or paving.

Trident Maple


This maple likes full sun and tolerates drought. Height is 20-25’ tall and 30’ wide.The foliage is a spectrum of color through the seasons, bronze-purple when new, becoming green in the summer, and turning red, yellow, and orange in the fall.

Maple trees have shallow root systems and can break foundations and sidewalks, be careful to be plant well away from your home. Precision Tree and Landscaping can assist in picking the right area to plant your maple trees, so they and you enjoy many years of beauty.

One to stay away from:

Norway Maples


Often planted replacement tree because of its fast growth and deep shade.

  • Its messy tree, dropping flower buds, two crops of seeds, twigs, branches, and copious amounts of leaves.
  • During storms large branches can break off from the top, then re-sprouting which happens along the truck.
  • It sends many shoots and seedlings out which need to be hand pulled to remove.
  • Nothing grows underneath them.
  • It is the last tree to lose its leaves in the fall, often not until after Thanksgiving, which means that having my gutters cleaned is a game of Russian roulette. Will the leaves fall before it snows? Maybe or not