What is a Norway Maple Tree?

Ken Black
Ken Black
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

A Norway maple tree, Acer platanoides, is a broadleaf maple that is known for its dark green leaves that turn a bright shade of yellow in the fall. It typically grows in temperate zones. While the tree is considered popular by some growers, the Norway maple tree can also be considered an invasive species in some areas because of its ability to produce a vast number of seeds and force out native trees.

Considered a fast-growing tree, the Norway maple tree is capable of reaching heights up to 90 feet (27.4 meters), though it is more typically 40 to 50 feet (12.2 to 15.2 meters) tall. Its spread can also reach 50 feet (15.2 meters) and is very symmetrical in its growth pattern. It also has very dense vegetative growth, which can make it an ideal shade tree. Those using it as a shade tree should realize that it has the ability to starve the ground of light, so a shade-tolerant grass is recommended. Some may choose to give up on grass and rather use mulch underneath the trees.

The tree grows in USDA growing zones 4 to 7 most often, but it can also be found in zone 3, depending on the area. Geographically in the United States, this gives the tree a range from Wisconsin to northern Georgia and northern Texas. In Europe, it is found anywhere from Norway to points farther south. It is one maple variety that is actually somewhat tolerant of very hot conditions.

For those interested in Norway maple tree, its care is relatively straightforward. It can handle soil conditions ranging from alkaline to slightly acidic. Established trees typically do not need supplemental watering, but may in very dry conditions. The trees are susceptible to a number of leaf spot diseases, usually caused by fungus, and can suffer limb breakage during high wind events.

One cultivar of the Norway maple tree does not turn yellow in the fall, but rather turns a deep shade of red. This tree is often known as the crimson king maple, but is, in reality, a Norway maple. It requires the same care and grows in the same areas as its main cultivar.

The Norway maple tree has its origins in Europe, but has since been cultivated in the United States. It competes for territory mainly with the native sugar maple tree. This means it can have a negative impact on native tree species, especially those that are on the outskirts of forested areas. Controlling the tree typically involves removing as many seedlings as possible.

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