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Aceraceae Family Description Essay

Maple tree Facts



Maple tree Facts
Maple tree is plant that belongs to the family Aceraceae. There are 128 species and couple of thousand varieties of maples that can be found mostly on the northern hemisphere. Fossil evidences indicate that maples exist on the planet at least 100 million years. Certain species of maples vanished during the ice age. These plants are cultivated because of their ornamental morphology, production of maple syrup and commercial application of the wood. Unfortunately, out of 128 species, 54 are faced with uncertain future due to habitat loss.
Size of maple tree depends on the species. Some types of maple can be grown as bonsai, while other can reach the height of 145 feet.
Maple tree has brown bark that is smooth in young plants and rough in older plants. Dense and fibrous root system prevents growth of the nearby plants.
Leaves are divided in 3 to 9 lobes. They are oppositely arranged on the branches. Leaves change color from green to different shades of yellow, orange and red during the autumn.
Flowers of maple tree can be green, yellow, orange or red in color. Individual male and female flowers are grouped in inflorescence. Insects (such as honeybees) are main pollinators of the flowers.
Maple produces winged seed which moves like a helicopter when it falls from the trees.
Maple syrup is best known product of the maple tree. It is produced by boiling of tree sap. Maple tree needs to reach the age of 30 years to become suitable for sap extraction.
It takes 40-50 gallons of tree sap for the production of one gallon of syrup. People extract small quantities of sap (10%) from the individual maple trees. This practice does not affect growth and health of trees.
Maple syrup is rich in sugar, but it also contains vitamins and minerals in traces. It can be used as a substitute for sugar. More common, maple syrup is used as a dressing for pancakes and other desserts.
Wood of maple is used in the industry of music instruments for the production of violins, viola, guitars and drums.
Different types of furniture, baseball bats, bowling pins and butcher’s blocks are often made of maple trees.
Dried wood of maple tree can be used for smoking of food, while charcoal made of maple tree plays significant role in the manufacture of Tennessee Whiskey.
Maple tree is also used in the paper industry. Paper made of maple tree has excellent printing properties.
People in Japan like to watch delicate changes in the color of the foliage during the autumn. Collective watching of maples in the autumn is known as “momijigari” in Japan.
Leaf of maple tree is incorporated in the flag of Canada.
Maple tree can survive more than 300 years under appropriate climate conditions.







Brief Summary

Red Maple

    Aceraceae -- Maple family

    Russell S. Walters and Harry W. Yawney

    Red maple (Acer rubrum) is also known as scarlet maple,  swamp maple, soft maple, Carolina red maple, Drummond red maple,  and water maple (33). Many foresters consider the tree inferior  and undesirable because it is often poorly formed and defective,  especially on poor sites. On good sites, however, it may grow  fast with good form and quality for saw logs. Red maple is a  subclimax species that can occupy overstory space but is usually  replaced by other species. It is classed as shade tolerant and as  a prolific sprouter. It has great ecological amplitude from sea  level to about 900 m (3,000 ft) and grows over a wide range of  microhabitat sites. It ranks high as a shade tree for landscapes.

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Acer rubrum, a medium to large tree native to North America, is called red maple for its red buds, flowers, fruits, brilliant fall foliage, and even twigs. It is the State Tree of Rhode Island (USNA 2011).

Red maple grows up to 20 m tall, usually with a narrow compact crown, and may occur singly or in a clump of stems that resprouted from a single stump after cutting or fire. Young bark is smooth, thin, and gray; older trees develop furrowed bark with scaly or even shaggy ridges. Leaves are deciduous, opposite, with blades 6-10 cm long and usually about as wide, with 3 to 5 shallow short-pointed and serrate or toothed lobes. Flowers are pink to red, in fascicles (clusters) or drooping racemes. Individual trees are monoecious (male and female flowers on separated trees) or bisexual (male and female flowers on the same tree, or segregated by branches within the tree—technically polygamo-dioecious). Fruits are paired samaras (winged nutlets) 2-2.5 cm long, clustered on long stalks (Wikipedia 2011).

Red maple is one of the most widely distributed trees in eastern North America (see distribution map). It tolerates a wide variety of soil types and site conditions, ranging from swamps and poorly drained soils to drier uplands, savannas, sandy dunes, and barrens (Barnes and Wagner 2004, Burns and Honkala 1990, Michigan Flora Online 2011). It is widely planted as a shade tree and in parks, with more than 50 cultivars that vary in leaf shape, fall color, and tree form (Van Geldrin et al. 2010). It has various timber uses, can yield maple syrup (but less than sugar maple), and was used by Native Americans and pioneers for medicinal and other purposes (see uses).

Red maple has increased dramatically in abundance and distribution since the early 1800s, when early settlement records suggest that it was restricted to swampy sites. Fire suppression has allowed it to gain a competitive advantage and replace oaks in drier upland forests (Abrams 1998). It is a “supergeneralist” that can act as a pioneer species, quickly colonizing disturbed and cut-over sites, but capable of dominating later in succession (Abrams 1998). It is browsed less by deer and defoliated less by gypsy moths than oak species; the differential damage may indirectly benefit the red maple (Abrams 1998, Jedlicka et al. 2004). Its increased abundance may also be linked to the decline of Ulmus americana (American elm) from Dutch elm disease, and of Castanea dentata (American chestnut) from blight. By 2002, red maple was one of the 10 most abundant tree species in U.S. forests (FIA 2011). Its distribution has been further increased due to frequent naturalization from horticultural plantings.

Red maple leaves, twig, bark, and/or fruits are a food source for numerous mammals, birds, and insects. However, red maple leaves are extremely toxic to horses (Wikipedia 2011).

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Comprehensive Description

Description

Red maple is a small to medium sized, native deciduous tree that generally reaches 30 to 90 ft (9 to 27 m) in height. It is one of the most common and widespread deciduous trees of eastern North America. Leaves: The leaves are opposite, simple, 3 to 5 palmate lobes with toothed (serrated) edges. They are 2 to 4 in (5 to 10 cm) long. In the spring, the leaves are red-tinged. In the summer, they are green above and whitened and sometimes finely hairy underneath. In the fall, they are bright red (hence their name). Twigs are also red with red buds. Flowers: Small reddish to yellowish flowers on slender stalks with petals which appear before leaf budburst. Most trees have both male and female flowers (usually on separate branches) but occasionally trees only produce female flowers. Red maples are one of the first trees to flower in spring, usually March to April. Fruits: The fruit is a double samara (“helicopter”) with wings that angle downward. Seed dispersal is defined as when the fruits turn brown and start falling, which usually occurs before leaves are fully developed, April through July (depending on elevation). Bark: The bark is smooth and light gray on young trees, becoming darker with age and becoming furrowed into long, narrow, scaly ridges on older trunks and branches. Habitat: Red maple is one of the most common trees in the Midwest and East. It is often found in swamps and on moist soils, but can also thrive in drier habitats.

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Acer rubrum L.

Distribution

Mesic pine savannas (MPS-CP), wet pine flatwoods (WPF-T), wet pine savannas (SPS-T, SPS-RF, WLPS, VWLPS), roadsides.

Notes

Abundant. Jan–Mar ; Apr–Jul . If one chooses to recognize varieties within Acer rubrum , the specimens collected by the senior author are referable to var. Acer rubrum trilobum Torr. & A. Gray ex K. Koch. Thornhill 80, 265, 281 (NCSC). Specimens seen in the vicinity: Sandy Run [Hancock]: Taggart SARU 8 (WNC!; as Acer rubrum var. trilobum ); Sandy Run [Neck]: Wilbur 67089 (DUKE!). [= RAB;> Acer rubrum L. various varieties sensu Weakley]

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Comments

Because of its attractive leaves (red fall color, reddish petioles), attractive flowers and samaras (also often red), and contrasting silvery gray bark, this is one of the most attractive maples. In particular, the flowers of Red Maple tend to stand out from the background because they develop very early in the spring when both flowers and leaves are scarce. Its only other rival in this respect is Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum), which has less colorful flowers. Both of these maples develop earlier in the spring than other maples and their samaras become mature by early summer. The leaves of Silver Maple are more deeply lobed than those of Red Maple, and Silver Maple also has larger samaras. Because of its variability, different varieties of Red Maple have been described; these varieties occur primarily in the southeastern states. One variety that is found in southern Illinois, Drummond's Maple (Acer rubrum drummondii), occurs primarily in swamps and bottomland woodlands, sometimes in standing water. It differs from the typical variety of Red Maple (as described here) by having a dense coating of fine white hairs on the lower surface of its leaves. In addition, the petioles and twigs of Drummond's Maple are often pubescent, and it has larger samaras (1¼-2" long). Because of these differences, some authors (Mohlenbrock, 2002) have classified this tree as a distinct species, Acer drummondii.

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Description

This tree is 50-80' tall, forming a single trunk up to 3' across and a rounded crown with ascending to spreading branches. Trunk bark of older trees is gray, irregularly scaly, and rough-textured, while trunk bark of young trees is light gray and more smooth. The bark of branches and older twigs is whitish gray and smooth, while young twigs of the current year are reddish brown, glabrous, terete, and covered with scattered white lenticels. Young leafy shoots are light green, glabrous, and terete; they also have scattered white lenticels. Pairs of opposite leaves occur along young twigs and shoots. Individual leaves are 2½-4" long and a little less across; they are divided into 3 palmate lobes (or less often 5 palmate lobes) and their margins are crenate-serrate. The sinuses divide the leaf blade moderately deep and they are cleft. The base of each leaf is slightly cordate to rounded. The upper surface of the leaves is yellowish green to medium green and glabrous, while the lower surface is pale gray-green to white, glabrous or nearly glabrous, and glaucous. In some  local ecotypes of this tree, the lower side of the leaves is slightly glaucous, while in others it is densely glaucous. The slender petioles are 2-3½" long and light green to red. Individual trees of Red Maple can develop all male flowers, all female flowers, or both male and female flowers on the same tree. Male flowers occur in dense sessile clusters along last year's twigs; they are surrounded by short scaly bracts with ciliate margins. Individual male flowers are about 1/8" long, consisting of 5 sepals, 5 petals, and several stamens. The sepals and petals are usually red (less often yellow) and very similar in appearance. The female flowers also occur in clusters along last year's branches (usually on separate branches when male flowers are present on a tree). These clusters are initially sessile, but the pedicels of the flowers soon become ½-2" long, resulting in drooping umbels. Individual female flowers are about 1/8" long, consisting of 5 sepals, 5 petals, and a 2-celled ovary with a pair of divergent styles. The sepals and petals are usually red (less often yellow) and very similar in appearance. The flowers bloom during early to mid-spring for about 1-2 weeks. They are cross-pollinated by the wind. The female flowers are replaced by paired samaras that are arranged along the twigs in drooping umbels. Each pair of samaras forms a 45-90° angle. Each samara is ¾-1" long, consisting of a single-seeded body and an elongated membranous wing. The samaras can be yellow, red, or reddish brown. They become mature during late spring or early summer and are distributed by the wind. The root system consists of a taproot with lateral roots; they are variable in length, depending on the amount of moisture that is available. The deciduous leaves usually turn red during the autumn; less commonly, they become orange or yellow.

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Description

General: Maple Family (Aceraceae). A native tree growing to 20 m tall, usually with a narrow compact crown, single-boled, or often in clumps of stems from one stump due to prolific sprouting; bark gray and thin, becoming furrowed into long narrow scaly ridges on older trunks and branches. The leaves are deciduous, opposite, long-petioled, blades 6-10 cm long and usually about as wide, with 3 shallow short-pointed lobes, sometimes with two smaller lobes near the base, dull green and smooth above, lighter green or silvery beneath and more or less hairy. The flowers are pink to dark red, about 3 mm long, the male (staminate) flowers fascicled and the female (pistillate) flowers in drooping racemes. The flowers appear to be bisexual but they are functionally male or female, and individual trees may be all male or all female or some trees may have both types, each type on a separate branch (the species technically polygamo-dioecious), or the flowers may be functionally bisexual. Fruits: winged nutlets (samaras) in a pair, 2-2.5 cm long, clustered on long stalks, red to red-brown. The common name is in reference to the red twigs, buds, flowers, and fall leaves.

Variation within the species: Red maple is highly variable and many varieties and forms have been identified. The following varieties are commonly recognized:

Var. drummondii (Hook. & Arn. ex Nutt.) Sarg.

Var. trilobum Torr. & Gray ex K. Koch

Red maple forms natural hybrids with silver maple (A. saccharinum): Acer X freemanii E. Murray.

Distribution: Red maple is one of the most widely distributed trees in eastern North America, extending from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, then south through Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and southern Texas, and east to southern Florida. Its distribution has been increased past its native range through broad cultivation and naturalization of the cultivated forms.

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Red Maple is occasional to locally common in southern and NE Illinois, while in other areas of the state it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include floodplain woodlands in river valleys, swamps, sandy flatwoods, sand dunes, upland woodlands and wooded bluffs, acidic gravelly seeps, and forested bogs. Red Maple is typically associated with American Elm, Green Ash, Silver Maple, and other deciduous trees that occur in soggy woodlands, where it is occasionally dominant or codominant. Because of fire suppression, Red Maple has become more common in upland woodlands in some eastern states. It is often cultivated as a landscape tree.

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Common tree species in eastern N. America; Nfld., Quebec, Ont., and Minn., south to Fla., and west to eastern Tex.

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Occurrence in North America

     AL  AR  CT  DE  FL  GA  HI  IL  IN  KY
     LA  ME  MA  MD  MI  MN  MS  MO  NH  NJ
     NY  NC  OH  OK  PA  RI  SC  TN  TX  VT
     VA  WV  WI  MB  NB  NF  NS  ON  PQ

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Red maple is one of the most widely distributed trees in eastern North
America [97].  Its range extends from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia west
to southern Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois; south through
Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and southern Texas; and east to southern
Florida [64].  It is conspicuously absent from the bottomland forests of
the Corn Belt in the Prairie Peninsula of the Midwest, the coastal
prairies of southern Louisiana and southeastern Texas, and the swamp
prairie of the Florida everglades [97].  It is cultivated in Hawaii [102].

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Adaptation

Red maple is also one of the most successful and abundant species in the Eastern Deciduous Forest, arguably the most abundant, reproducing aggressively by seeds and sprouts after fire, logging, and abandonment of farmland. It is most abundant on bottomlands and is tolerant of waterlogged soils and flooding, but it is a “supergeneralist,” growing on the widest variety of sites and in the greatest range of conditions (sunny or shady, high or low nutrients, dry or moist) of any North American species, from 0-900 meters. Because red maple grows well in shade, is a key late-successional species, but it also is a successful early successional invader of disturbed sites. “It will probably continue to increase in dominance in the overstory during the next century, causing widespread replacement of the historically dominant trees of the forests of the eastern United States” (Abrams 1998, p. 355). Fire suppression has contributed greatly to the spread of red maple (the thin bark makes it highly susceptible to fire damage) but no single trait is responsible for its success.

Flowering: (February-)March-April, before the vegetative buds, one of the first trees to flower in the spring; fruiting: April-June, before leaf development is complete.

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Morphology

Description

More info for the term: tree

Red maple is a deciduous tree that grows 30 to 90 feet (9-28 m) tall and
up to 4 feet (1.6 m) in diameter [16,25].  The bark is smooth and gray
but darkens and becomes furrowed in narrow ridges with age [16,38].
Twigs are stout and shiny red to grayish brown [49].

The small, fragrant flowers are borne in slender-stalked, drooping,
axillary clusters [8,16,24,49].  The fruit is a paired, winged samara,
approximately 0.75 inch (1.9 cm) long [49].  Samaras are red, pink, or
yellow [38].

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Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Red Maple is occasional to locally common in southern and NE Illinois, while in other areas of the state it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include floodplain woodlands in river valleys, swamps, sandy flatwoods, sand dunes, upland woodlands and wooded bluffs, acidic gravelly seeps, and forested bogs. Red Maple is typically associated with American Elm, Green Ash, Silver Maple, and other deciduous trees that occur in soggy woodlands, where it is occasionally dominant or codominant. Because of fire suppression, Red Maple has become more common in upland woodlands in some eastern states. It is often cultivated as a landscape tree.

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Comments: Moist, deep, rich soils of ravines and coves; variety of soil and forest types; swamps; dry uplands; sea level-1400m.

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Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: cover, tree

Red maple grows throughout throughout much of the deciduous forest of
eastern North America and into the fringes of the boreal forest [49].
It occurs on a variety of wet to dry sites in dense woods and in
openings [25].  Red maple grows in low, rich woods, along the margins of
lakes, marshes, and swamps, in hammocks, wet thickets, and on
floodplains and stream terraces [13,17,24,79,82].  Red maple also occurs
in drier upland woodlands, low-elevation cove forests, dry sandy plains,
and on stable dunes [24,38,96].  Red maple is a common dominant in many
forest types and is considered a major species or associate in more that
56 cover types [97].  In much of the Northeast it grows as an overstory
dominant only in swamps and other wet sites [65].  Red maple grows in
association with more than 70 important tree species.

Soils:  Red maple does well on a wider range of soil types, textures,
moisture regimes, and pH than does any other forest species in North
America [97].  It develops best on moist, fertile, loamy soils [27] but
also grows on a variety of dry, rocky, upland soils [49].  Red maple
grows on soils derived from a variety of parent materials, including
granite, shales, slates, gneisses, schists, sandstone, limestone,
conlgomerates, and quartzites [97].  It also occurs on a variety of
lacustrine sediments, glacial till, and glacial outwash [53].

Elevation:  Red maple grows from sea level to 3,000 feet (0-900 m) in
elevation [97].  Elevational ranges by geographic location are as
follows:

Location                Elevation                       Authority

s Appalachians          up to 5,904 feet (1,800 m)      Duncan & Duncan 1988
White Mountains, NH     1,968 to 2,778 feet (600-850 m) Leak & Graber 1974

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: codominant, mesic, swamp

Red maple occurs as a dominant or codominant in several eastern
deciduous forests and deciduous swamp communities with black ash
(Fraxinus nigra), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), northern red oak
(Quercus rubra), black oak ( Q. velutinus), aspen (Populus tremuloides),
and elm (Ulmus spp.).  In mesic upland communities of the Southeast, it
grows as an overstory dominant with sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
and water oak (Quercus palustris).  Red maple has been included as an
indicator or dominant in the following community type (cts) and plant
association (pas) classifications:

Location        Classification          Authority

AL              forest cts              Golden 1979
MA              forest pas              Spurr 1956
se MI           deciduous swamp cts     Barnes 1976       
s MI            forest cts              Hammitt & Barnes 1989
NY              forest cts              Glitzenstein & others 1990
s ON            general veg. cts        Smith & others 1975

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: swamp

     5  Balsam fir
    12  Black spruce
    14  Northern pin oak
    16  Aspen
    17  Pin cherry
    18  Paper birch
    19  Gray birch - red maple
    20  White pine - northern red oak - red maple
    21  Eastern white pine
    22  White pine - hemlock
    23  Eastern hemlock
    24  Hemlock - yellow birch
    25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch
    26  Sugar maple - basswood
    27  Sugar maple
    28  Black cherry - maple
    30  Red spruce - yellow birch
    31  Red spruce - sugar maple - beech
    32  Red spruce
    33  Red spruce - balsam fir
    37  Northern white-cedar
    38  Tamarack
    39  Black ash - American elm - red maple
    43  Bear oak
    44  Chestnut oak
    45  Pitch pine
    46  Eastern redcedar
    52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak
    53  White oak
    55  Northern red oak
    57  Yellow-poplar
    59  Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak
    61  River birch - sycamore
    62  Silver maple - American elm
    63  Cottonwood
    65  Pin oak - sweetgum
    73  Southern redcedar
    74  Cabbage palmetto
    75  Shortleaf pine
    76  Shortleaf pine - oak
    78  Virginia pine - oak
    79  Virginia pine
    81  Loblolly pine
    82  Loblolly pine - hardwood
    85  Slash pine - hardwood
    87  Sweetgum - yellow-poplar
    88  Willow oak - water oak - diamondleaf (laurel) oak
    92  Sweetgum - willow oak
    93  Sugarberry - American elm - green ash
    95  Black willow
    96  Overcup oak - water hickory
    97  Atlantic white-cedar
    98  Pond pine
   100  Pondcypress
   101  Baldcypress
   103  Water tupelo - swamp tupelo
   104  Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay
   108  Red maple
   109  Hawthorne
   110  Black oak

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

   K081  Oak savanna
   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest
   K097  Southeastern spruce - fir forest
   K098  Northern floodplain forest
   K099  Maple - basswood forest
   K100  Oak - hickory forest
   K101  Elm - ash forest
   K102  Beech - maple forest
   K103  Mixed mesophytic forest
   K104  Appalachian oak forest
   K106  Northern hardwoods (seral stages)
   K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest (seral stages)
   K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest (seral stages)
   K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest
   K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest
   K112  Southern mixed forest
   K113  Southern floodplain forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress
   FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES19  Aspen - birch

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Soils and Topography

Red maple can probably thrive on a wider range of soil types,  textures, moisture, pH, and elevation than any other forest  species in North America (18). Its range covers soils of  the following orders: Entisols, Inceptisols, Ultisols, Alfisols,  Spodosols, and Histosols. It grows on both glaciated and  nonglaciated soils derived from granite, gneisses, schists,  sandstone, shales, slates, conglomerates, quartzites, and  limestone (26).

    Red maple grows on diverse sites, from dry ridges and southwest  slopes to peat bogs and swamps. It commonly grows under the more  extreme soil-moisture conditions either very wet or quite dry.  The species does not show a strong affinity for either a north or  a south aspect (48). Although it develops best on  moderately well-drained, moist sites at low to intermediate  elevations, it is common in mountainous country on the drier  ridges and on south and west exposures of upper slopes. It is  also common, however, in swampy areas, on slow-draining flats and  depressions, and along small sluggish streams (26). In  upper Michigan and New England, red maple grows on ridge tops and  dry sandy or rocky upland soils and in almost pure stands on  moist soils and swamp borders (13,40). In the extreme  south, red maple is almost exclusively a swamp species.

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Climate

The northern extent of the red maple range coincides with the -40°  C (-40° F) mean minimum isotherm in southeastern  Canada (11). The western range is limited by the dry  climate of the Prairie States. Of all the maples, it has the  widest tolerance to climatic conditions. The absence of red maple  in the Prairie Peninsula does not seem to be related to  precipitation amount because the tree grows elsewhere with  similar or less annual precipitation.

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Dispersal

Establishment

Red maple is a prolific seed producer and trees as young as four years may begin to bear seeds. Good seed crops are usually produced in alternate years. Seedbed requirements are minimal and up to 95% of viable seeds germinate in the first 10 days; some survive in the duff and germinate the following year. Because the mature seeds are dispersed in spring and can germinate immediately, seedlings can become established with a 3-4 month advantage over most associated woody species. A bank of persistent seedlings often accumulates beneath a forest canopy.

Seedlings can survive 3-5 years of moderate shade, but establishment and early growth are best after disturbance. Male (staminate) trees may grow faster than female ones. Average longevity for red maple is about 80-100 years, but trees are known to reach 200 years of age.

Vegetative reproduction under natural conditions is common from sprouts from the stump or root crown or root suckers after fire or mechanical damage. Buds located at the base of stems commonly sprout 2-6 weeks after the stem is cut.

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Associations

Faunal Associations

Red Maple is the preferred host of Itame pustularia (Red Maple Spanworm) and Parallelia bistriaris (Maple Looper Moth); the caterpillars of these moths feed on the foliage. Other moth caterpillars that feed on Red Maple and other maples include Acronicta inclara (Unclear Dagger Moth), Hypena baltimoralis (Baltimore Bomolocha), Cameraria aceriella (Maple Leaf-Blotch Miner), and many other species (see Moth Table). Other small insects suck plant juices from these trees; these species include aphids (Drepanaphis spp. & others), leafhoppers (Eratoneura macra, Erythridula hamata, & others), and such scale insects as Pulvinaria acericola (Maple Leaf Scale), Pulvinaria vitis (Cottony Maple Scale), and Lepidosaphes ulmi (Oystershell Scale). Other insect feeders include the plant bugs Coccobaphes frontifer and Lygocoris vitticollis, larvae of many wood-boring beetles (see Wood-Boring Beetle Table), and the larvae of Dasineura communis (Maple Gouty Vein-Gall Midge). Vertebrate animals use Red Maple and other maples as a source of food, nesting habitat, and cover. Some upland gamebirds (Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Bobwhite, etc.) and songbirds (Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Purple Finch, Evening Grosbeak, etc.) eat the seeds and buds, while the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker drills holes into the bark to feed on sap (see Bird Table). Woodpeckers and other insectivorous songbirds often search for the many insects that feed on maples; these insects are especially important in feeding young nestlings. Twigs and sometimes the leaves of Red Maple are browsed by White-Tailed Deer and Elk, primarily during the winter when other foods are scarce; the leaves of this tree are reportedly toxic to cattle and horses. The Cottontail Rabbit sometimes eats the seedlings, while tree squirrels occasionally eat the seeds. The cavities of older trees are used as nesting habitat by some birds (Screech Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Wood Duck, Northern Flicker, Tree Swallow) and tree squirrels (Fox Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Red Squirrel); such cavities are also used by various tree-roosting bats.

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Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Pholiota aurivella is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed trunk (large) of Acer rubrum

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Associated Forest Cover

Red maple is a major or an associated species in 56 of the 88  nontropical forest cover types recognized for the eastern United  States (13). Red maple forms a pure cover type (Society  of American Foresters Type 108) because it makes up at least 80  percent of the stand basal area. The species is also at least 20  percent of Gray Birch-Red Maple (Type 19), White Pine-Northern  Red Oak-Red Maple (Type 20), Black Cherry-Maple (Type 28), and  Black Ash-American Elm-Red Maple (Type 39).

    The red maple is most common in New England, Middle Atlantic  States, upper Michigan, and northeast Wisconsin. It is rare  farther west and south. Recognition of red maple as a separate  cover type generally is attributed to disturbances that allowed  red maple residuals to respond rapidly. The elimination of elm  (Ulmus americana and U. thomasii) by Dutch elm  disease and of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) by  the blight, and selective removal of yellow birch (Betula  alleghaniensis) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum) have  contributed to increasing the proportion of red maple stocking in  many stands (13,40,48).

    Throughout its range, red maple is associated with more than 70  different commercial tree species (26). Its more common  associates from the north to the south include red spruce (Picea  rubens), balsam fir (Abies balsamea), white pine (Pinus  strobus), sugar maple, beech (Fagus grandifolia), yellow  birch, paper birch (Betula papyrifera), gray birch (B.  populifolia), sweet birch (B. lenta), eastern hemlock  (Tsuga canadensis), eastern hophornbeam (Ostrya  virginiana), striped maple (Acer pensylvanicum), northern  white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis), aspen (Populus  grandidentata and P. tremuloides), black ash (Fraxinus  nigra), pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica), black  cherry (P serotina), northern red oak (Quercus  rubra), American elm, chestnut oak (Q. prinus), Virginia  pine (Pinus virginiana), yellow-poplar (Liriodendron  tulipifera), silver maple (Acer saccharinum), black  gum (Nyssa sylvatica), swamp white oak (Quercus  bicolor), and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) (13).

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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Red maple is generally considered  very susceptible to defect. Especially on poor sites, red maple  often has poor form and considerable internal defect.  Discoloration and decay advance much faster in red maple than in  sugar maple (43). In northeastern Pennsylvania, average  cull ranged from 13 percent in 30 cm (12 in) diameter red maple  trees to 46 percent in 61 cm (24 in) diameter trees. Only  associated beech and black birch were more defective (26).

    Sprout clumps present some serious problems. More defects  originate from branch stubs on the sprout stems than from the  parent stump (43). Inonotus glomeratus can infect branch  stubs and wounds above the butt in red maple. Nevertheless, a red  maple sprout with only a slightly defective base and small and  well-healed branch stubs has a potential for high future value.  Criteria for selecting red maple sprouts for thinning are (1)  select only stems with small, well-healed branch stubs, (2)  reject sprout clumps with defective bases, and (3) cut all but  one or two of the best dominant stem sprouts (50).

    Many trunk rot fungi and stem diseases attack red maple. Inonotus  glomeratus infects branch stubs and wounds on the stem and is  most important. Second in importance is Oxyporus populinus,  which forms a small, white fruit body that often has moss  growing on top. Phellinus igniarius is another leading  heart rot of red maple. Red maple may also be cankered by species  of Nectria, Eutypella, Hypoxylon, Schizoxylon, Strumella,  and others (48).

    Red maple is susceptible to many leaf diseases, generally of minor  importance. It is seldom or seriously damaged by root diseases,  although Armillana mellea can enter through root or butt  wounds. However, A. mellea kills only trees already  weakened from other causes (18).

    Mechanical injury is a common source of defect in hardwoods, and  red maple is especially sensitive to wounding. Often, large areas  of cambium surrounding the wound will die back. In shade tree  maintenance, wound dressings have not proven effective in  stimulating wound closure or internal compartmentalization of the  damaged area (44). Increment boring causes discoloration  and may lead to decay in red maple. Callus growth, when  established, is reasonably rapid, but an extra year or two often  is needed if cambial dieback has been extensive around the wound  (26). Red maple was rated intermediate with respect to amount of  damage after a severe glaze storm in Pennsylvania. In one study,  major damage was sustained by 41 percent of the black cherry, 16  percent of the red maple, and 5 percent of the hemlock (18).

    Many different insects feed on red maple, but probably none of  them kill healthy trees. They do reduce vigor and growth leaving  the tree more susceptible to attack from fungi. Insect feeding  also may hasten the death of weakened trees. Susceptibility to  insect attack is illustrated by a study in the Piedmont. Of 40  species investigated, red maple had the highest percentage (79  percent) of insect attacks. Among the more important borers  attacking red maple were the gallmaking maple borer (Xylotreehus  aceris), the maple callus borer (Synanthedon acerni),  and the Columbian timber beetle (Corthylus columbianus).  The common scale insects included the cottony maple scale  (Pulvinaria vitis), the maple leaf scale (P  acericola), and the oystershell scale (Lepidosaphes  ulmi). The common leaf feeding moths were the gypsy moth (Lymantria  dispar), the linden looper (Erannis tiliaria), the  elm spanworm (Ennomos subsignaria), and the red maple  spanworm (Itame pustularia). The forest tent caterpillar  (Malacosoma disstria) avoids red maple, however (26).

    Red maple is very sensitive to fire injury, and even large trees  can be killed by a fire of moderate intensity. The fire-killed  trees sprout vigorously, however, and red maple may become a more  important stand component after a fire than before one (26).

    Red maple is a desirable deer food and reproduction may be almost  completely suppressed in areas of excessive deer populations.  Snowshoe hares may also reduce the amount of red maple  reproduction (26).

    If sapsuckers attack red maple, ringshake may develop (42).  Sapsucker damage may also result in mortality Healthy as well  as unhealthy trees are attacked and nearly 40 percent of the  trees attacked may be killed (41).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Numerous EOs throughout its range.

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General Ecology

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: density, prescribed fire, tree

Red maple is reportedly common on burned lands in the Maritime Provinces
[82], boreal forests on northern Minnesota [12,51,96], and hardwood
forests of the Allegheny Mountains [50].  However, it is rarely observed
on burned sites in Rhode Island [14] and was reported to be greatly
reduced by prescribed fire in northern Indiana woodlands [18].

On the George Washington National Forest, West Virginia, a spring prescribed
fire increased red maple density in a mixed-hardwood forest. Average red maple
seedling densities before fire and in postfire year 5 were 132 and 368
seedlings/acre, respectively; red maple sprout densities were 1,368
sprouts/acre before and 1,395 sprouts/acre 5 years after the fire. See the
Research Paper of Wendel and Smith's [103] study for details on the fire
prescription and fire effects on red maple and 6 other tree species.

The following Research Project Summaries
provide further information on prescribed

fire use and postfire response of plant
community species, including red

maple, that was not available when this
species review was originally

written:

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the term: density

Fire can stimulate sprouting of dormant red maple buds located on the
root crown [97].  Trees top-killed by fire often sprout vigorously and
assume increased prominence in postfire stands [85].  Seedlings also
sprout and may produce dense sprout clumps following fire [93].

Regrowth following fire is often rapid.  Regrowth begins during the
first month following summer and fall burns, and significant increases
in stem density occur by the third and fourth postfire months.  Martin
[74] observed red maple sprouts 2 weeks after a July fire in Nova
Scotia.  Red maple establishes through seed from June through August
[33].  Postfire increases in stem density commonly promotes red maple's
dominance within a stand [68].

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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

More info for the terms: resistance, series

Season of burn:  Late spring or early summer burns are most damaging to
understory hardwoods such as red maple [48].  A series of consecutive
annual late spring and early summer burns killed the rootstocks of
progressively more individuals; however, as many as five consecutive
annual winter burns had no effect on sprouting ability of top-killed
hardwoods [48].

Bark:  Bark of red maple is intermediate in resistance to fire [46].
Mean number of seconds required for the cambium to reach 140 degrees (60
deg C) (often considered a lethal temperature) are as follows [46]:

        Bark thickness          Seconds
        0.20 inch                20.0
        0.30 inch                56.8
        0.40 inch               117.6

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the terms: fire severity, severity

Red maple is intolerant of fire; even large individuals can be killed by
moderate fires [97].  Postfire mortality is relatively high for
saplings, but because bark becomes thicker and more fire-resistant with
age, mortality is much lower for sawtimber [98].  The effects of fire
also vary with fire severity, season of burn, and various site factors.

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: root crown

   survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex
   off-site colonizer; seed carried by wind; postfire yrs 1 and 2

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fire suppression, restoration, root crown

Red maple is a common fire type in the Acadian Forest of New Brunswick,
where mean fire intervals have been estimated at 370 years [32].  In the
New Jersey Pine Barrens, mean fire intervals averaged 20 years in the
early 1900's, but due to a variety of factors including fire suppression
and increased prescribed burning, now average 65 years [34].  Red maple
regeneration in the Pine Barrens is favored in the absence of fire [34].
In upland oak forests of central Pennsylvania fire suppression has led
to the replacement of oaks by red maple, beech, black cherry, and sugar
maple [71].

Red maple has also increased in the absence of fire throughout much of
the Southeast [11].  In parts of the Appalachians, fire suppression has
allowed maple stems to grow large enough and develop bark thick enough
to enable them to survive fires [47].  As a result, restoration to
presettlement conditions would be "a very long-term process" [47].

Red maple sprouts vigorously from the root crown after aboveground
vegetation is killed by fire [87].  Seedling establishment may also
occur [87].

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, tree

Red maple is characterized by a wide ecological amplitude and occupies a
wide range of successional stages [54,83].  It is moderately tolerant of
shade in the North but intolerant of shade in the Piedmont [97].  Red
maple commonly grows as a subclimax or mid-seral species [20,97], but
characteristics such as vigorous sprouting, prolific seeding, and
ability to compete enable it to pioneer on a variety of disturbed sites
[54,97].  This tree lives longer than most seral species [97] but
generally does not persist in late successional stages [65].  In
even-aged stands which develop after clearcutting, red maple is commonly
overtopped by faster growing species such as northern red oak [65].  In
a few locations in the Southeast, it grows as a climax dominant in
wet-site communities [76].

Red maple commonly increases after disturbances such as windthrow,
clearcutting, or fire [97].  In many locations, red maple has increased
in importance since presettlement times.  Dutch elm disease and chestnut
blight have led to increases in the number of red maple stems in many
stands [97].  In many parts of the East, red maple has increased in gaps
resulting from oak decline and gypsy moth infestations [43,65].

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: duff, root collar

Seed:  Red maple can bear seed as early as 4 years of age [78] and
produces good or better seed crops over most of its range in 1 out of 2
years [39].  Bumper seed crops do occur.  Trees are extremely prolific;
individual trees 2 to 8 inches (5-20 cm) in diameter commonly produce
12,000 to 91,000 seeds annually, and trees 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter
can produce nearly 1,000,000 seeds [1].  Seed is wind dispersed [97].

Seed banking:  In parts of Nova Scotia and Minnesota, red maple seed has
been found buried at depths of 0 to 6 inches (0-16 cm) [2,61,81], but
these seeds are usually not viable [2,61].  Up to 95 percent of viable
seed germinates with the first 10 days [1]; some seed survives within
the duff and germinates the following year [30,61].

Seedling establishment:  Seedbed requirements for red maple are minimal
[42], and a bank of persistent seedlings often accumulates beneath a
forest canopy [97].  Seedlings may number more than 11,000 per acre
(44,534/ha) [69] and can survive for 3 to 5 years under moderate shade
[73].

Vegetative regeneration:  Red maple sprouts vigorously from the stump,
root crown, or "root suckers" after fire or mechanical damage
[32,96,97].  Lees [62] observed that at least three generations of stump
sprouts can "thrive on the same regenerating root system."  Buds located
at the base of stems commonly sprout 2 to 6 weeks after the stem is cut
[97].  Mroz and others [77] reported that sprouting is generally
confined to the root collar.

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