Sugar maple tree appearance wood uses and lumber
Sugar maple trees are common throughout North East America and South East Canada. They are fast growing trees and famous for their maple syrup and sugar that is made from the tree sap. The scientific name of the sugar maple tree is acer saccharum and is part of the aceraceae family. It takes almost forty gallons of tree sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup but the taste is spectacular! Sugar maple trees are also good city shade trees and highly valued for their good wood properties. The lumber is harder then most other maple species but still easy to handle by hand or machine.
Sugar maple tree, leaf and fruit description
Sugar maple trees can grow to heights up to 100 feet or 30 meters. The tree is classed deciduous and won't have leaves from the end of autumn to early spring.
Sugar maple leaves are arranged opposite with three to five shallow lobes and conspicuous veins. During spring and summer the leaves are dull green colored on the sun side and paler green on the other side.
In autumn the leaves change color turning to yellow or orange brown. They are moderate big and reach lengths up to 5 inches or 13 cm and.
Like other maple species this tree also has wing shaped fruits. They hang in clusters beneath the maple leaves and reach lengths up to 1 inch or 2.5 cm.
Sugar maple tree bark and trunk
Young sugar maple trees have smooth or slightly fissured grey brown bark. When the tree ages the bark darkens, gets deeply furrowed and sometimes scaly. The trunk of the sugar maple tree is moderate long with many branches. The diameter of the trunk depends on the age of the tree. Old trees can have trunks with a diameter up to 43 inches or 1.2 meters.
Sugar maple wood properties and durability
Fresh sugar maple heartwood is pale reddish brown colored. The sapwood is lighter more creamy white to yellow colored. Exposure to sunlight gives both wood types a darker and more intense color. Sugar maple wood is known for its nice colorations, straight close grain and fine texture, hard, heavy, strong and moderate shock resistance properties. The average dried weight of the wood at a moisture content of 12% is 715 kg per cubic meter. The durability of sugar maple wood is classed as V low durability.
Sugar maple wood working tips and uses
Sugar maple wood is popular among carpenters and the wood work industry. The lumber is harder then that of the red maple tree. Sugar maple lumber nails, screws, glues, and works well both by hand or machine.
Pre drilling is advised when screws or nails are used but watch out because the lumber can burn easy. It is recommended to let the wood acclimatize to the environment before handling it.
Sugar maple wood is used in a wide range of products like
- flooring (bowling lanes and basketball courts)
- bowling pins
- turned articles
- kitchen cabins
- music instruments
- and more!