How Long Do Sugar Maple Trees Live?

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Sugar maples, Acer saccharum, grow across a wide swath of the United States and Canada. They thrive as far south as Tennessee and as far west as Missouri and eastern Kansas. The University of Florida notes that sugar maples can survive in USDA zones 3 to 8a, meaning they could potentially live over much of the United States. Sugar maples are a common source of the sap boiled to make maple syrup.

General Life Span

  • Sugar maples are naturally long-lived trees. Cornell University says that although very old trees aren't that common, it is possible to find sugar maples that are 300 and 400 years old.

Time Frame

  • The ability of the sugar maple to live for hundreds of years means its growth cycle is relatively stretched out. Cornell notes that sugar maple trees need to be about 30 years old before that begin to bear seeds. The sugar maple has yearly growth spurts until it reaches approximately 140 or 150 years old; any growth after that is very slow.

Urban Effects

  • Sugar maples in urban areas face added stress that can shorten their lives. Outside circumstances such as urban construction can lead to a premature demise. Cornell Cooperative Extension says that stress from pollution and road salts can cause the tree to decline at a younger age.

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References

  • Photo Credit Collecting the sap from a maple tree image by Rob Hill from Fotolia.com
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