The silver maple (Acer saccharinum) â€” also called creek maple, river maple, silverleaf maple, soft maple, water maple, or white maple â€” is a species of maple native to eastern North America in the eastern United States and adjacent parts of southeast Canada. It is one of the most common trees in the United States.
The silver maple is a relatively fast-growing deciduous tree, commonly reaching a height of 15â€“25 m (50â€“80 ft), exceptionally 35 m (115 ft). Its spread will generally be 11â€“15 m (35â€“50 ft) wide. A 10-year-old sapling will stand about 8 m (25 ft) tall. It is often found along waterways and in wetlands, leading to the colloquial name "water maple".
The silver maple has brittle wood, and is commonly damaged in storms. The roots are shallow and fibrous and easily invade septic fields and old drain pipes and can also crack sidewalks and foundations. It is a vigorous resprouter, and if not pruned, it will often grow with multiple trunks. It is, nonetheless, widely used as an ornamental tree because of its rapid growth and ease of propagation and transplanting. It is highly tolerant of urban conditions, which is why it is frequently planted next to streets. Although it naturally is found near water, it can grow on drier ground if planted there.
I have a few silver maples on my property that are very climbable including one that is around 90 ft tall. You do have to watch out for storm damage which can be a problem.
I would also like to add that due to the brittle nature of this tree I would recommend a slightly larger tie in point then on a nice hardwood. I would also recommend a tie in point that is close to the branch attachment point on the trunk.
My big silver maple has had a couple 6-8" thick branches break off during storms. They seem to like to break more than halfway out on the limb or more. Something to keep in mind.
Watch for hollows in silver maples. They are prone to inner decay. Try tapping out a branch with a carabiner for soundings. Sometimes they run thin walls on some of the branches.
They get pretty big down south here. But I've seen some 5 foot diameter ones up north. Bark a bit flakey and sometimes grabby with throw lines. But the bark pops harmlessly off with a throw line tug (ti does no harm to the tree).
2Chops. Would you please start a new thread and describe the new non destructive hand shake you invented for tree climbers? It's certainly worthy of discussion as many tree climbers hurt others with eager hand shakes.
Treeman, good tip about tapping out a limb with a 'biner. As far as the "new handshake" goes, I'll put it in the General Section. By the way, I'm told you have an interresting story about a guy with dreads' who had to improvise a helmet.
What's that brown line at the bottom of the trunk that runs about 8' or so up? Is it a crack from a past lightning strike, or a stress point or what? Ok so that's a few questions. Sorry.
Also, Interresting to see a silver maple with a strong central leader like that. Around here they usually fan out like a vas full of long stem flowers. I wouldn't mind going up the one in your pic. Appears to have decent height to it. Ok so that's a few comments too. Sorry again. But sometimes once I get started I just keep going.
The vertical line on the tree is evidence of a large Poison Ivy vine that was deeply embedded in the bark. The vine was about 1 1/2-2" in diameter and very furry. I removed the vine recently along with countless grape vines when I cleared out the tree for climbing. Trunk and base sounded solid when thumped with a mallet.
There is a large sucker top on the smaller trunk section that is a bit of a mess. Damage from long ago. There was a lot of deadwood to clear and several small hangers that needed pulled.
A little less than halfway up the tree there are several large branches. One of these makes a wonderful lounge seat that can be very comfortable to enjoy the view.