6 secrets of the Canada red maple tree

Want to know the real deal behind our country’s most recognizable symbol? Read on to learn everything there is to know about Canada’s red maple tree.

By Frankie Flowers

6 secrets of the Canada red maple tree
©istockphoto/Turbinado
1. The red maple has the greatest north-south distribution of all tree species along the east coast, ranging from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in eastern Canada to Florida.

2. Although red maples will grow in most soils, they prefer slightly acidic, moist conditions. They will also grow in dry soil as long as they get part to full sun exposure.

3. One of the first maples to flower in spring, they produce seeds each yearand a bumper crop every second year. On average, a red maple with a diameter of 10 to 20 centimetres can produce as many as 91,000 seeds annually. Sometimes referred to as maple keys, the seeds’ characteristic “wings” allow them to travel great distances, carried by the wind in search of their next homes.

4. Red maples are fast growing, reaching maturity in 70 to 80 years, but they seldom live longer than 
150 years.

5. To me, the value of a red maple in landscaping is its ability to produce shade early in the season. The proper placement of a shade tree like a red maple can reduce air-conditioning costs during the summer months by sheltering your home from the blazing sun. In winter, when the branches are bare, sunlight can stream in to warm your home.

6. Although sugar maples (Acer saccharum) are best known for producing maple sugar, red maples are also used commercially for producing maple syrup, as well as mid- to high-quality lumber.


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