Why is the Norway Maple Invasive


Norway maple (Acer platanoides) is a non-native popular landscape tree that has become an invasive species in many parts of the world.

It is known for its aggressive spreading traits that enable it to out-compete native species, especially sugar maple, due to its shade tolerance.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why Norway maple is considered an invasive species and its impact on the environment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Norway maple is a non-native popular landscape tree that has become an invasive species in many parts of the world.
  • It is known for its aggressive spreading traits that enable it to out-compete native species, especially sugar maple, due to its shade tolerance.
  • Norway maple invades open and forested areas, including old fields, open woods, forest edges, forest interiors, and transport and utility right of ways.
  • It forms a dense canopy that reduces wildflower diversity and out-competes native species, reducing biodiversity.
  • Its shallow roots make it prone to blowdowns, and it is tolerant of poor soils and air pollution, making it the dominant tree in many urban settings.
  • Several control measures can be used to manage Norway maple populations, including prevention, cutting down the tree and treating the stump with herbicide, and mechanical control.
  • By preventing its establishment and controlling its populations, we can maintain biodiversity and ecosystem health.

Traits of Norway Maple

Why is the Norway Maple Invasive

Norway maple has several traits that make it an invasive species.

It can spread aggressively, invading open and forested areas, including old fields, open woods, forest edges, forest interiors, and transport and utility right of ways.

It is most prevalent at disturbed sites such as abandoned residential, commercial and agricultural land, and highly fragmented and otherwise disturbed forests.

Seedlings can germinate and grow to maturity in shaded conditions, making it a successful competitor in the understory of forests.

Norway maple is often overlooked and confused with sugar maple, making it difficult to identify and control.

It is most frequently reported as invasive in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions of the US.

Impact on the Environment

Norway maple has a significant impact on the environment. It forms a dense canopy that reduces wildflower diversity.

It out-competes native species, especially sugar maple, due to its shade tolerance, and can spread into native woodlands, reducing biodiversity.

Its shallow roots make it prone to blowdowns, and it is tolerant of poor soils and air pollution, making it the dominant tree in many urban settings.

Its aggressive spreading traits make it difficult to control, and it can quickly become a weedy plant through self-seeding.

Control Measures

Several control measures can be used to manage Norway maple populations.

The most effective method is to prevent its establishment by not planting it in the first place. Instead, native species should be planted to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem health.

If Norway maple is already established, it can be controlled by cutting down the tree and treating the stump with herbicide to prevent regrowth.

However, this method can be time-consuming and expensive, especially for large populations.

Another method is to use mechanical control, such as cutting or mowing, to prevent seed production.

However, this method can be ineffective if the tree has already produced seeds.

Before You Go

If your looking to buy shrubs or trees online, I highly recommend Nature Hills. They always have sales and discounts on nursery stock, well worth your time checking them out.

You can find them here, NatureHills.com.

Also, I have other articles about Norway maple trees you can check out if your interested.

I’ll leave links to them below.

Norway Maple Facts: Top 8

Pros and Cons of Planting Norway Maple Trees

Are There Different Types Of Norway Maples

What Are Norway Maple Look Alikes

Norway Maple Tree Diseases

Norway Maple Problems: Important Info Before Planting

How the Norway Maple Got to America

Blog Musings