Black Maple

Black Maple Acer nigrumThe black maple (Acer nigrum) is found over most of Iowa, usually on low lands and moist slopes. It is very similar to the sugar maple and is often mistaken for it.

Habitat: Grows on moist woods and wooded slopes. Found in the eastern two-thirds of Iowa.

Hardiness: Maples vary in hardiness. Most fall into zones 4 though 8, but some are less tolerant of cold or heat than others. When selecting a maple tree, be sure to select a species suited for Iowa’s weather. 

black maple leaf
Black Maple Leaf - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

Growth Rate: Maples vary in growth rate. Maples that are fast growing tend to have weak wood and may suffer from wind and ice damage. Slower growing maples have heavier, harder wood, making them less susceptible to branch and limb drop.

Mature Shape: Maples typically have a large, rounded crown. Tree canopies may be very dense or wide spreading.

Height: 80-100 feet

Width: 40-60 feet

Site Requirements: Maple trees perform best in moist, well-drained soils. Site requirements vary with the species of maple.

Leaves: opposite, simple

Flowering Dates: May

Seed Dispersal Dates: Late Summer - Early Fall

Seed Bearing Age: 30 years

Seed Bearing Frequency: Yearly, with heavier seed crops occurring every four years.

Seed Stratification: After an initial soaking in water for 24 hours, the seeds are stratified in a moist media. Germination starts six weeks after stratification.

Black maple twigs are stout, light to dark gray, smooth and opposite on the stems. The fruit is a pair of winged seeds, ripening in autumn. The bark is very similar to the sugar maple, except that it is usually darker.

black maple fruit which is a pair of winged seeds
Black Maple Fruit, Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University

Diseases that Affect Black Maple

Pests that Affect Black Maple