Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest

Norway Maple

{Picture of Norway Maple}

Plant Information

  • Plant Type: Tree: Large
  • Scientific Name: Acer platanoides Play audio of plant name
  • Family: Maple
  • Related Cultivars:

    Acer platanoides 'Royal Red'
    Acer platanoides 'Schwedleri'
    Acer platanoides 'Superform'
    Acer platanoides 'Cleveland'
    Acer platanoides 'Columnare'
    Acer platanoides 'Crimson King'
    Acer platanoides 'Deborah'
    Acer platanoides 'Drummondii'
    Acer platanoides 'Emerald Lustre' ('Pond')
    Acer platanoides 'Emerald Queen'
    Acer platanoides 'Globosum'

  • Zone: 4
  • Plant Size: 50-60'
  • Habit: Rounded
  • Culture:

    Very adaptable. Full sun to shade.

  • Notes:

    Norway maple's durability and the continued loss of other urban-tolerant species (such as ash due to the emerald ash borer) has led to far greater use of this species than its limited ornamental value would justify.  Produces a dense shade which makes growing other plants beneath it difficult. Yellow flowers before the leaves and at best a yellow fall color.

    This species has become an invasive weed in natural areas, and therefore should not be planted outside of urban environments to limit its escape into the wild.

  • Pruning:Pruning animation

    Structural pruning targets branch defects with the goal of producing strong-branched, long-lived trees with a low risk of storm damage.  The importance of addressing branch defects when trees are young cannot be over-emphasized. The suppression or removal of small branches is far easier and better for long-term tree health than when branches become large.  Beginning when a tree is planted, it should be evaluated each year and branches with structural defects should be suppressed, or if small, removed.  This will promote a resilient tree structure that is also more ascetically pleasing.    

    These site explain the fundamentals of structural tree pruning:

    Urban Tree Foundation – Structural Pruning

    University of Florida – Structural Pruning

    If a branch needs to be removed for clearance, is damaged, or possesses a critical defect, a 3-point cut is used (see animation). First an undercut is made to prevent bark from tearing down the trunk if it remains attached to the falling limb. The branch is then "stub cut" which removes most of the branch to facilitate a clean final cut. The final cut is made just outside the branch collar, which is the swollen area between the branch and the trunk. Cuts made here will heal most readily and prevent rot from invading the main trunk of the tree, a common occurrence when branches are cut flush with the trunk.

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Landscape Plants of the Upper Midwest

Bill Hoch, Associate Professor
Montana State University

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