Sugar maple vs Red maple | Properties, Identification, and Uses

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.

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

Red Maple

Red maple is also known as soft maple,  Swamp, Water Maple. It is native to Eastern North America. The red maple got its name because of its red flowers, red fruits, and red twigs.

Red Maple also grew as an ornamental and shade tree. Its red leaves and fruits look attractive. It is often found in parks and gardens.

#Sugar mapleRed maple
Scientific Name: Acer saccharumAcer rubrum
Known as Hard mapleSoft maple
Native to :Eastern North AmericaEastern North America
Tree Size: 80-115 ft (25-35 m) tall65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall
Average Dried Weight: 44.0 lbs/ft3 (705 kg/m3)38lbs/ft3 (610 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness: 1,450 lbf (6,450 N)950 lbf (4,230 N)
Wood color:reddish brownlight golden or reddish brown
Rot Resistance:Not rot resistant.Not rot resistant.
Uses:Flooring, veneer, paper (pulpwood), musical instruments, etc.Veneer, paper (pulpwood), boxes, crates/pallets, musical instruments, etc.

Sugar vs Red Maple Uses

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.

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.

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

Best uses of Red Maple 

Boxes, Crates, and Pallets: Red maple is mainly used for making boxes. To make the boxes, it is necessary that the wood should be strong and light in weight. Red maple is lighter than sugar maple. 

Common uses

As Ornamentals Tree: Sugar maple and red maple both are widely grown as ornamental and shade trees. The dense crown grows in an oval shape and offers shade in the summer. It is often seen in parks and gardens.

Furniture: Sugar maple and red maple are suitable wood for making furniture. Only heartwood is used for furniture. The reddish-brown furniture looks attractive.

Paper(Pulpwood): For quality paper production,  straight grain and fewer knot types of wood are used. So Sugar Maple and Red Maple are suitable for making pulpwood.

Musical Instruments: To make musical instruments, wood should have strong as well as good workability properties. Complex structures can be made with sugar maples and red maples.

Wood Color

Sugar MapleRed Maple
Sapwood color ranges from nearly white, sometimes with a reddish or golden hue. The heartwood tends to be a darker reddish-brown.Its heartwood is reddish-brown and the sapwood is almost white.

Red Maple vs Sugar Maple Workability

Sugar and Red maple have good workability. 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 is Turns, glues, and finishes well.

The density and hardness of red maple are less than that of sugar maple. Therefore the workability of red maple is better.

Do Sugar and Red 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

Sugar Maple and Red Maple both are Rated as non-durable to perishable, and susceptible to insect attack. It is not suitable for outdoor uses.

Sugar Maple vs Red Maple Identification

maple identification
Sugar Maple vs Red Maple Identification


Sugar Maple leaves Red Maple leaves 
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.
Red maple leaves are lobed with 3 to 5 lobes, 2 to 6 inches wide. It has a slightly smaller leaf than most other species of maples. The leaves are green in summer.
The lower lobes are much smaller than the upper.


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


Sugar Maple FlowerRed Maple Flower
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. 
The red flowers sprout before the leaf shoots. Flowering occurs in March – April month.
Red Maples produce male and female flowers on the same tree. But there is a difference in their size.


Sugar Maple FruitRed Maple Fruit
The sugar maple fruit is famous for its delicious sweet syrup. Its fruit is called samaras.
Its fruit is about 1 inch long.
Red maple fruits are called samaras. They look different from typical fruits. 
Fruit color ranges from red to green, becoming tan with age. Its fruit is 1/2-1 inch long.

Sugar Maple vs Red Maple Growth Rate

The sugar and red maple tree grow at a medium to fast rate. In good climates, it grows 12 to 24 inches per year.

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