5 Types Of Maple Trees In Kansas


The 5 types of maple trees commonly found in Kansas are the Silver Maple, Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Box Elder Maple, and Amur Maple.

1. Amur Maple (Acer Ginnala)

The Amur maple is a relatively small maple tree, typically growing 15-20 feet tall with a 15-25 foot spread.

It is native to northeastern China, Japan, Korea and southeastern Russia in the Amur River valley region, hence its common name.

This tree is popular in landscaping due to its small size, ornamental beauty, and bright red fall color.

The Amur maple has a rounded, spreading shape with slender branching. The leaves are oppositely arranged, simple, and palmately 3-5 lobed with double serrated margins.

The leaves emerge with a reddish tint in spring, turn medium to dark green in summer, and then transform into a brilliant crimson red in fall. Small greenish-white flowers bloom in umbel clusters in late spring.

The fruit are paired winged samaras that ripen in late summer into fall.

The Amur maple is quite adaptable and hardy, tolerating pollution and a wide range of soils. It can grow in full sun to part shade.

This small maple tree makes an excellent accent or understory tree, and works nicely in borders, small yards or used in groups. It also looks great near patios and decks.

The Amur Maple’s vibrant red fall color is the star attraction.

2. Box Elder Maple (Acer Negundo)

The Box Elder maple, also known as the Ashleaf Maple, is a medium-sized deciduous tree that is found throughout the plains states.

It is a member of the genus Acer but differs from many other maple species in having compound leaves made up of 3-7 leaflets.

The Box Elder reaches heights of 30-60 feet tall with a spread of 30-50 feet.

This maple grows rapidly and has a broad, rounded, spreading crown. The bark is gray-brown in color and becomes furrowed into narrow ridges as it ages.

Leaves are green and opposite, with 3-5 leaflets that have coarsely toothed margins. In the fall, the foliage turns pale yellow.

One distinctive feature of the Box Elder are its winged fruits called samaras, which develop in late spring and whirl to the ground when ripe.

Box Elder maple is native to stream banks, wet bottomlands, and moist woods across much of the central and eastern United States.

It is extremely tolerant of a wide range of soils, urban pollution, salt, and drought. This adaptability allows it to thrive in challenging urban environments.

The fast growth rate also makes it ideal for a quick shade tree. While the Box Elder maple has some merit, it is not typically chosen for ornamental landscapes.

3. Silver Maple (Acer Saccharinum)

The Silver Maple is considered the most common maple species in the state of Kansas. It is native to a large area of the eastern United States and the eastern one-half of Kansas.

This large deciduous tree typically grows 50-80 feet tall, with old trees sometimes reaching over 100 feet. It has a broad, rounded crown and long spreading branches that form a vase shape.

Silver Maple is named for the attractive silvery-white color of the undersides of its leaves. It has delicate five-lobed leaves that emerge with a reddish color in spring.

The leaves turn yellow, orange, or red in fall. The bark on young trees is smooth and grayish, becoming furrowed with age.

The twigs also have a distinctive silver-white coloring during the winter months.

This fast growing maple is found along stream banks, floodplains, moist slopes and well-drained soils. It transplants easily and can tolerate drier conditions once established.

The Silver Maple’s large size and aggressive roots can sometimes cause problems in urban planting sites. However, it makes an excellent shade tree with its dense canopy. It also attracts wildlife with its early flowers and seeds.

With proper siting, the Silver Maple can be an asset to the Kansas landscape.

4. Red Maple (Acer Rubrum)

The Red Maple is the most widespread maple tree in North America and can be found across most of the eastern half of Kansas. It is a medium to large deciduous tree, typically reaching heights of 40-60 feet at maturity.

The Red Maple gets its name from the distinctive red flowers, twigs, buds and fall foliage.

This versatile tree grows well in various soil types and moisture conditions. It has ascending branches that form a rounded oval crown.

The bark is smooth and light gray on young trees, becoming ridged and furrowed with age. Leaves emerge reddish in spring then become glossy green in summer.

The three to five-lobed leaves turn striking shades of scarlet, orange and yellow in the fall before dropping.

Red Maple produces small reddish flowers in early spring before the leaves emerge. It is one of the first trees to flower in Kansas. The winged samara fruits mature in late spring.

This maple tree readily hybridizes with other maple species. Red Maple can thrive in full sun to partial shade and is easily transplanted.

Its brilliant fall colors, attractive shape and soil adaptability make it a popular choice in urban landscapes and woodland settings throughout the eastern half of Kansas.

5. Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum)

The Sugar Maple is an icon of the eastern deciduous forest and is tapped for its syrup in many parts of its range. This large maple grows 50-75 feet tall at maturity and develops a dense rounded crown.

It prefers moist, fertile soils and is native to most of eastern Kansas.

Sugar Maples have a straight trunk with little taper. The bark is gray-brown and becomes deeply furrowed with age. Leaves are 3-6 inches wide with five lobes and have a silvery underside.

Foliage emerges light green in spring and develops into a lush dark green in summer. A splash of orange, red and yellow hues arrive in fall.

Sugar Maples produce yellow-green flowers in early spring. The distinctive paired winged fruits called samaras mature by early fall. This maple tree is known for the high sugar content in its sap.

Syrup production involves tapping the tree in late winter, collecting the sap, then boiling it down to syrup.

The Sugar Maple’s dense canopy provides excellent shade. It is highly desired for landscapes, parks, and street tree plantings.

Sugar Maples require more space than other maples and periodic pruning when young.

Given proper growing conditions, this iconic tree can thrive for over 200 years. In fall, the Sugar Maple’s vibrant foliage is the star attraction.

Which Type Of Maple Tree Is The Most Common In Kansas

Here are a few key points about the most common maple tree in Kansas:

  • The silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is the most prevalent maple species found in Kansas.
  • It is native to eastern and central North America, ranging from western Quebec to eastern Texas.
  • Silver maples grow rapidly and can reach 60-80 feet in height with a spread of 40-60 feet.
  • The species is named for the silvery undersides of its leaves. The tops of the leaves are green.
  • Silver maples thrive in wet soils and are commonly found along streams, floodplains, and other riparian areas.
  • They prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
  • The trees produce small green flowers in early spring before the leaves emerge.
  • Their fruit are winged seeds (samaras) that ripen in late spring.
  • Silver maples are popular landscape trees but they have aggressive root systems that can sometimes cause problems in urban areas.
  • Overall, the fast growth, shade, and ornamental qualities make silver maple a widespread and commonly planted tree in Kansas. It likely accounts for the majority of maple trees found across the state.

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