Type Strengths Weaknesses
Sugar Maple

  • Excellent fall foliage
  • Provides excellent shade
  • Very tolerant of shading from other trees.
  • Grows in a wide variety of soils with a preference for acidic soils such as those found on Long Island.
  • Slower growing but longer lived than many other types of maples.
  • Inappropriate as a street tree, especially when roots are confined by paved surfaces such as sidewalks, streets and parking lots.
  • Intolerant of road salt and air pollution. Sugar maple is the most salt-sensitive of the maples.
  • Intolerant of soil compaction. Cars or trucks running over the root zone is devastating to sugar maples. Healthy trees that are "spared" on new construction sites rarely survive the ordeal.
  • Sensitive to summer drought.
  • Relatively slow growth could be an issue where shade is desired in a hurry.
Norway Maple

  • The Norway maple grows well as a street tree in city areas where other trees do poorly.
  • Tolerant of urban environments and air pollution.
  • Relatively tolerant of restricted growing areas, such as the small patches of earth often allocated for shade trees along city streets.
  • Fast growing when young.
  • Provides very dense shade.
  • It is very difficult to grow grass under Norway maples.
  • Brittle limbs break during storms.
  • An invasive species that crowds out native trees.
  • Prolific germination of seedlings in lawns and gardens is a problem.
  • Poor fall color most years.
  • Tend to be disease prone and relatively short lived on Long Island. There are some trees that have survived for a long time in ideal locations, but these tend not to be found in the typical suburban yard.
  • Although relatively drought tolerant, "leaf scorch" is a problem during hot, dry weather. Leaves curl and drop prematurely, sometimes in quantities that require periodic raking of adjacent lawn areas.
Red Maple

  • Grows well in the acidic soils found on Long Island
  • Usually provides excellent fall color
  • Can be a good choice for a street tree on less heavily traveled roads, for example many suburban streets.
  • Provide good shade
  • Moderate growth rate
  • Not a good choice along heavily traveled roads.
  • Fall colors may vary from year to year. In some cultivars, the color may even vary considerably among different parts of the same tree during the same season.
  • Red maples grow over a wide area of the eastern United States. To insure the best results trees planted should be sourced from local stock. It may be difficult to determine the source of the nursery stock for trees purchased from large chain stores.
Silver Maple

  • Fast growing
  • Easy to transplant
  • Grows well in a wider range of soil conditions than other maples
  • Inexpensive
  • Poor fall color.
  • Weak wood. Limbs prone to breaking off of the tree during windy conditions.
  • Large but weak root system. Trees are more prone to being uprooted during high winds.
  • The expansive root system cracks sidewalks and may grow into and clog drains and sewers.