Silver Maple vs Sugar Maple | What is the difference?

Silver Maple

Silver maple is also known as Creek Maple, Silverleaf Maple, Soft Maple, Large Maple, Water Maple, Swamp Maple, or White Maple. It is native to the eastern and central United States and Canada. 

Silver Maple also grows as an ornamental and shady tree. It is often found in parks and gardens. Branches and bark often fall off. Which can be a problem sometimes.

Sugar Maple

Sugar maple is also known as hard maple, rock maple, birds-eye maple, sweet maple, curly maple. It is native to the hardwood forests of eastern Canada and Eastern North America. Sugar maple is known for its primary source of maple syrup. Native Americans use it a lot.

Widely grown as an ornamental and shady tree. Its red leaves look attractive. In addition, its wood is used for cabinets, furniture, and interior finishing.

Silver MapleSugar Maple
Scientific Name:Acer saccharinumAcer saccharum
Native to:Northeastern United StatesEastern North America
Tree Size:80-115 ft (25-35 m) tall80-115 ft (25-35 m) tall
Average Dried Weight: 33 lbs/ft3 (530 kg/m3)44.0 lbs/ft3 (705 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness:700 lbf (3,110 N)1,450 lbf (6,450 N)
Wood color:light golden or reddish-brownreddish-brown
Rot Resistance:not rot resistancenot rot resistance 
Uses:Veneer, paper (pulpwood), boxes, crates/pallets, musical instruments, turned objects, and other small specialty wood items.Flooring, veneer, paper (pulpwood), musical instruments, etc.

Silver Maple vs Sugar Maple Uses

Best uses of Silver Maple 

Boxes, Crates, and Pallets: Silver maple is widely used for making boxes. To make quality and durable boxes, it is necessary that the wood should be strong and light in weight. Silver maple is lighter than Sugar maple. 

Food: Silver maple is one of the primary food sources for squirrels during the spring.

Best uses of Sugar Maple

Syrup: The sugar maple is one of the important maple species for making maple syrup. Other species of maple can also be used for sap, but the sugar content is less in them. This is the perfect species for making syrup.

Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup Tapping

The sap is extracted from the tree using a tap placed into a hole drilled through the phloem inside the bark. The sap is collected in a vessel that is attached to the tree. To collect sap, a tree should be at least 12″ in diameter. Larger trees can have more than one tap. This is a time-consuming process, the whole process to collect can take 2 days.

Flooring: Sugar maple is used for flooring. Because its density and durability are higher than Silver maple. High-density wood is considered better for flooring as it is less prone to scratches and dents.

Premium grade Sugar Maple is used for flooring. It has a great color variant available.

Common uses

Small object: Silver maple and sugar maple are widely used for turned objects and wooden items such as decorative objects. 

Paper(Pulpwood): For quality paper production, straight grain and fine wood is used. Silver Maple and Sugar Maple are suitable for making pulpwood.

Musical Instruments: To make musical instruments, wood should have flexibility and strength. Complex and flexible structures can be made with maples.

Silver Maple Sugar Maple Identification


Silver Maple LeavesSugar Maple Leaves
The leaves are palmately lobed with 5 deeply incised lobes. The leaves are 7 – 16 cm long and 5 – 12 cm broad. 
The surface is light green, the underside is white. The leaf margin is serrated.
Silver maple leaves turn a pale yellow in the fall.
Sugar maple leaves are segmented into 5 lobes, dark green color on the outside, and a lighter green on the underside.
The lower lobes are much smaller than the upper.


Silver Maple Bark Sugar Maple Bark
The bark of a young tree looks light brown and smooth. As the trees get older the bark gets darker and rougher.The young tree has smooth bark and is later fissured. The bark of the branches is brown in color and later becomes darker.


Silver Maple FlowerSugar Maple Flower
The green and red flowers sprout before the leaf shoots.  The male flower is greenish. The female flower is red.
Silver Maples produce male and female flowers on the same tree. Flowering occurs in February – March.
The yellow flowers sprout before the leaf shoots. Flowering occurs in the month of April to May.
Sugar maple can be monoecious, that is with both male and female flowers, or can be dioecious.


Silver Maple FruitSugar Maple Fruit
Silver maple fruits are called samaras
The fruit color is Brownish-tan, 1 to 1.2 inches long.
The sugar maple fruit is famous for its delicious sweet syrup. Its fruit is also called samaras.
Its fruit is about 1 inch long.

Wood Color

Silver MapleSugar Maple
Its heartwood is reddish-brown and the sapwood is almost white. Silver maple can also be seen with curly or quilted grain patterns.Its heartwood is dark reddish-brown and the sapwood is nearly white to off-white cream. Sometimes it can also be a light reddish or golden hue.

Silver Maple vs Sugar Maple Workability

Silver maple and Sugar maple have good workability properties. Fairly easy to work with both hand and machine tools. Some problems may occur while working with high-speed machines. such as a router. Otherwise, it turns, glues, and finishes well.

The density and hardness of Sugar maple are higher than Silver maple. Therefore the workability of Silver maple is better.

Do Silver and Sugar Maple Cause Allergies?

Almost all species of maple have been reported to cause skin irritation, runny nose, and asthma effects. Therefore, while working on Maple, cover the skin and wear glasses. If you already have any allergic problems then take extra precautions.

Rot Resistance

Silver and Sugar Maple both are rated as non-durable, and susceptible to insect attack. It is not suitable for outdoor uses. To use for long durability in the interior purpose, it will be a good option to paint or polish.

Silver Maple vs Sugar Maple Growth Rate

Silver Maple and Sugar Maple are both fast-growing trees. It grows about 12 to 24 inches per year.

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