Sugar maples provide beautiful color to East Texas landscape, but probably no syrup


I just had to let you see this wonderful native maple in all of its fall splendor.

All maples are beautiful trees, and this sugar maple (Acer barbatum) is no exception. Sugar maple is found all around the woodlands of East Texas, along with red maples, and in fall they provide some of our most beautiful color. Sugar maple is bright yellow to orange, and can be shades of pumpkin and sometimes a mix of all those colors — beautiful!

Maples are truly beautiful trees, but if you are looking for a yard tree, I suggest you do some research and consideration. Our sugar maples get about 60 feet tall and wide, make a fairly dense shade (grass is sparse underneath), and make a tangle of roots on top of the ground. I planted mine in my woodland areas where we had to take out some big pines a few years ago. I would not want a maple growing on my lawn, near my house or any concrete foundation, nor where we have to mow. So give thought before you run out to get one for your yard. Maples, magnolias, tulip poplars, elms, hackberries, sweetgums and some oaks make lots of surface roots that make mowing under them nearly impossible and are downright dangerous to plant closer than 30 to 40 feet from your foundation.

Can we make maple syrup? Most often not. Our winters are not cold enough. I have known people who have tried, but with very little success. They need very long cold winters and our longest coldest winters are not hard enough to get the sap flowing in quantities large enough to make syrup.

A fun project to do for fall decoration is collect colorful leaves, dip them in melted wax or polish them with floor wax. They will look lovely through the fall holidays. A pretty leaf can be labeled with a guest's name, then waxed for place cards. Use your imagination and have fun.

By the way, we have traveled up in the North in fall to see spectacular leaf color, only to come back right here to see even more beautiful fall color. Not always, but when the rain and weather cooperate, we rival anyone anywhere with our leaf color, and ours stay colored much longer.

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