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In general how long do maple trees live? Does the lifespan vary a lot according to species? I'm thinking of planting a few in my yard and I'm wondering how long they will be around.

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There was a big maple in the yard where I grew up and now it's bigger still. So I'd say at least 50 years. I'm sure someone will have a real answer. Keeping them properly trimmed is important if you live in an area with heavy snowfall. –  uncle brad Feb 23 '12 at 0:12
    
Lifespan will vary by species. Silver maple is more fragile, for one. There are some massive sugar(?) maples in my town that are probably 100 years old -- one fell down on our driveway last year and according to the rings was ~110 years old. They're likely to outlive you! –  bstpierre Feb 23 '12 at 14:00
    
Depends on the environment and the species. Sugar maples do not tolerate salt or traffic/exhaust. But they do live a long time in the right environment. I would also caution AGAINST planting Norway maple - which is an invasive/nuisance species. –  Tim Feb 23 '12 at 22:08

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

There are a lot of factors that affect lifespan for all trees:

  • If you live in an old growth forest that has never been logged larger maples can live well over 200 years.

  • If you live in an urban environment in USDA zones 3 to 7

    • Norway maple 100 years (Invasive in some areas and does not play well with others)
    • Red maple 100 years
    • Silver maple 100 years (I cannot imagine why you would want to plant this species)
    • Sugar maple 75 years (away from compacted soil)
  • If you live where the Asian long horned beetle has been seen then the lifespan of a maple could be very short.

There are many kinds of maples that are smaller such as the Amur Maple. I'm sure there's something that will fit. My choice of species would not include Ash or Maple due the possible appearance of introduced pests such as the Emerald Ash Borer or the Asian Long Horned Beetle in your region. If you have the room Gingko Biloba seems immune to almost every pest and disease.

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what is wrong with silver maple? –  Tim Feb 27 '12 at 0:23
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@Tim: Silver maple has an aggressive root system and relatively soft wood and weak branch structure. This makes it prone to damage in high winds or heavy snow/ice. It doesn't make much sense to plant it when there are so many better choices. –  bstpierre Feb 27 '12 at 13:04
    
I would agree that the silver maple is bothersome in urban areas, but I wouln't call it useless...it does grow very fast and I think it has a prettier leaf structure than red maple. Although I would go with a red/silver hybrid (Freeman maple) if I wanted to combine the fast growth of the silver and the sturdiness of the red. –  WienerDog Feb 27 '12 at 15:09
    
Silver Maples in urban areas are trouble. Their roots seek water and infiltrate water pipes. They have a poor branch structure that unusual weather can cause broken branches or splits in branches. With so many good cultivars I think the best place for the species Silver Maple is a botanical garden or rural area. –  kevinsky Feb 27 '12 at 15:45
    
Silver maples can be tapped for maple syrup. So can red - but norways are pretty useless. I guess I was just quetsioning why the negative comment on silvers but norways are far worse as a species –  Tim Feb 27 '12 at 16:02

protected by Niall C. Nov 18 '13 at 20:24

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