The silver maple and red maple are hardy, deciduous trees that grow in a wide range of soil types in the Eastern U.S. and Southeast Canada. They can be distinguished by differences in their size, leaves, fruits, bark and fall color.
According to Maple-Trees.com, the silver maple is larger, growing to heights of 50 to 70 feet and widths of 40 to 60 feet. The red maple will reach heights of 40 to 60 feet and widths of 25 to 45 feet.
The silver maple's leaves are wider than the red maple's (5 to 7 inches versus 2 to 6 inches) and have five lobes instead of three. The undersides of the silver maple's new leaves are silver-white in color, while the red maple's new leaves have a whitish undertone.
Both trees produce V-shaped fruits, but the silver maple's are twice as long, reaching lengths of 2 inches, according to the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association. Red maple fruits are red, while silver maple fruits are green or brown.
Young red maples have light gray bark while young silver maples have silvery gray bark. The MMPA says the bark of older silver maples takes on a "shaggy" appearance.
AboutMapleTrees.com describes the fall color of the silver maple leaves as yellow-gold and the leaves of red maple as a "spectacular crimson orange."
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Photos by Micky Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic
Red Maple Tree Facts
Red maple, or acer rubrum, is an eastern North American deciduous tree known for its brilliant red autumn foliage. It is one...
What Is the Difference Between a Red Maple & a Celebration Maple Tree?
The Red Maple (Acer rubrum) and the Celebration Red Maple (Acer x freemanii Celebration®) are broadleaf deciduous trees that belong to the...
How to Tell the Difference Between Hard Maple & Soft Maple Trees
Even the most beautiful trees cannot have it all. Most maple trees (Acer spp.) rise swiftly from saplings to shade our backyards...
The Difference Between an Autumn Blaze Maple & a Red Maple
Prized by gardeners and landscape designers, both the red maple and Autumn Blaze maple become medium-sized shade trees that display intensely red...
What Is the Difference Between Maple & Oak Trees?
Two of the most popular trees in the United States, maples (Acer spp.) and oaks (Quercus spp.) complement one another in nature...
The Differences Between the Bloodgood Japanese Maple and the Upright Red
Japanese red maples are deciduous shrubs that are commonly mistaken for small trees. On account of their bold red foliage and diversity...