The acer saccharum is a large tree, native to North America; adult specimens can reach 20-25 meters in height. It has an erect habit, with a broad stem, covered with gray bark, which over the years tends to crack and crack; the young plants have an oval, elongated crown, while the adult specimens tend to have a fairly rounded, very dense and well branched crown. The foliage is deciduous, palmate, characterized by the five lobes typical of many maples, with the two lobes close to the stem of the leaf smaller than the others; the leaves have a beautiful dark green color on the upper page, before falling, in autumn, they take on a striking color in shades of red, orange and deep pink. At the beginning of spring, before the leaves appear, the maple produces small yellow-green flowers. The fruits are small paired samaras, equipped with a small papyrus wing which allows them to fly at a distance from the mother plant. The sap of this maple is used in North America to obtain maple syrup, used as a sweetener. There are many cultivars and hybrids, varieties with particularly showy autumn colors, fastigiata foliage, or even dwarf varieties, of small dimensions.
As for the exposure suitable for this plant, the plants of Acer saccharum prefer sunny, or even partially shady, positions, especially in areas with very hot summers. It does not fear the cold, and can withstand temperatures of degrees below zero. When planting a maple it is good to remember that the crown becomes very wide over the years, so it is necessary to provide sufficient space for a balanced development of the tree.
The ideal habitat for this particular variety of maple is represented by the southeastern area of Canada and the northern part of the United States thanks to the particular meteorological conditions ideal for the optimal growth of the Acer saccharum.
Saccarine maples are grown in a good soil rich in humus, fresh and very deep; these trees need to have a large space where they can widen their root system given the dimensions they can reach; if planted in a place with soil that is too compact or dry, or near a foundation or other elements that can force the roots, they can have stunted growth. The acer saccarhum is however a particularly adaptable kind of maple and despite it prefers moist soils and subject to water stagnations it manages to grow well even in acid and saline soils. A type of soil that does not tolerate instead is the sandy one, as it is too permeable. It should also be noted that, unlike the other maples, the saccharine maple loves the light and the heat of the sun. For this the best environment for its growth is a completely sunny terrain.
The multiplication of the Acer saccharum occurs by seed in spring; we remind you that in order to propagate a particular variety it is advisable to use the grafting method, since it is not always possible to obtain trees identical to the tree from which the seeds were taken. To favor the germination of maple seeds it is advisable to place them for a few weeks in the refrigerator, then quickly pass them with sandpaper, so as to thin the leathery cuticle that covers them.
A curiosity about the acer saccharum concerns the sugary sap extracted from the plant. This substance contains a small percentage of sucrose which is the main source of maple syrup. Today the sap is extracted by drilling holes in the trunk and inserted into containers using modern piping systems; in the past, straws and specific containers were used to make sap.
Acer saccharum: Pests and diseases
Speaking of pests and diseases, the plants of saccharine maple they can be attacked by aphids and mites; like many other maples they suffer easily from verticillosis, which causes the vegetative apex to dry up. In the worst cases, this fungal disease even leads to the death of the plant if its vascular system is deeply attacked. The heat and summer drought can become a serious problem that manifests itself first with a crumpling of the leaves to which follows a rapid desiccation. The leaves appear burnt at the edges and curled up, after which they begin to fall in an important way.
Another problem that can accuse the plant is the attack of the xylophagus beetle. To eliminate the problem the most effective method is the removal and elimination of attacked plants.