Monday, May 9, 2011
Posted by Leila
In my unending adventure in learning the obvious (see here where I learn what straw is and here where I find out what they mean by a bonfire and here where I discover that spaghetti with red sauce doesn't count as "bland" in a bland diet), this past weekend I figured out which of the gazillion trees that surround me are sugar maples.
Because I am thinking that maybe, possibly I could do maple sugaring next winter, I dunno.
I'm so excited, because now I can identify maples of all kinds! Before, I only knew "maple" and "Japanese pin maple" and that was it.
There are three large maples outside my kitchen window, and one is a silver maple and one is a red maple and one is a... ta DAH! Sugar maple! The biggest one!
And the one by the deck is a sugar maple too! It's huge!
And then there is another medium size one out in back, and then there are two positively enormous ones just outside our property line that I think I could get permission to tap, and then, when I build my maple sugaring empire, there is a whole alleé of them next door at the old farm.
So I believe I am good to go, maple sugaring -wise.
Now, in the spirit of the Aunties who tell you what you need to know when the experts just go on and on with all this information that can't possibly be of any use to anyone other than other experts, such as that the bark is shaggy and splits vertically, which is true but then there are other ones with bark that doesn't shag or split, or that the leaves of one maple are bigger than the leaves of another, when everyone knows that leaves on the same tree are of different sizes, so how can that possibly help, I will tell you how to tell a sugar maple.
Just in case you too have no idea.
First, if it's spring, notice that the tree has these dangling panicle-y flowers. It makes the whole tree look sort of feathery and bright, light green. That's a sugar maple. The other ones have flowers that are more flowery and don't hang down like that, besides being redder.
Second, every other maple will have its seeds (those little helicopter thingies that we used to open up and attach to our noses when we were walking to school in the olden days when kids were allowed outside) in the spring -- so you'll be looking to see what kind of flowers the tree has and you'll see the seeds (called samara) and that will not be a sugar maple.
Red (I guess; it is red) maple, with its seeds.
Silver (I guess -- the experts say there are hundreds of kinds of maples) maple, not feathery and light green because of the little hanging flowers, and with lots of seeds that are too high up for me to get a photo of.
Third, if it's fall, and it's a sugar maple, it will have its seeds then.
Not in the spring.
How to tell a Sugar Maple; a post with pictures of trees.