Life Cycle of Maple Trees

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Maple trees reproduce from seeds.
Maple trees reproduce from seeds. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Maple, in the genus Acer, has approximately 125 species. Maple trees grow to be 30 to 130 feet in height from seed. As they mature, the trees reproduce seed in order to produce new trees.

Seeds

New maples grow from seeds that mature maples produce. A seed crop occurs annually, on an average. Different varieties of maple produce seeds at different stages of maturity. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum), for instance, begins bearing seeds at about 30 years of age, while red maple (Acer rubrum) bears seeds as early as 4 years of age.

Seedling Development

Maple seedlings have few germination requirements. With a little light, proper soil temperature and moisture, most seeds germinate soon after dispersal and develop into seedlings in the late spring to early summer.

Growth Rate

Growth rate depends on many factors, such as environment and species. Sugar maples, for instance, average about 1 foot of height growth per year, while red maples can grow 1 foot to 2 feet a year. Different varieties of maple have different life spans, but most grow to be more than 100 years old. Some old growth sugar maple stands can average 300 to 400 years in age. Height growth ceases after 140 to 150 years.

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