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How Far Apart To Plant Maple Trees – By Type Of Maple

Maple trees provide the well-known colors that come along with Fall. If you grew up in a location with four seasons, you probably jumped in a pile of Maple leaves at least once. These beautiful, large-leafed trees need space to reach their full potential, and the room required needs to be considered when planting.  If you are picking out your Maple saplings or getting ready to sprout some seeds,  you may be wondering how much room you need exactly. We researched the topic thoroughly to give you the typical distance between Maple trees and what other aspects to consider when planting. 

When deciding on how far apart to plant trees, you should consider their expected canopy spread.  Different species of Maples have varying space requirements. Smaller species should be at least 25 feet (ca. 8 m) apart, while larger species need to have closer to 40 feet (ca. 12 m) of space between them. 

We have laid out the general space needed between plants, but there are other obstacles and characteristics to consider when plating your Maple trees. Read on as we discuss the role roots play in planting considerations and break down specific space requirements based on tree species. 

A girl planting a maple tree,How Far Apart To Plant Maple Trees - By Type Of Maple

How To Space A Maple Tree

Maple trees are a pretty addition to a landscape, create the best summer shade and produce a tasty syrup. To have the opportunity to enjoy what a Maple has to offer, appropriate planting and care need to be followed through. When you are planting a seedling, you need to keep in mind the width of the trunk and the height of the tree at full maturity.

The general rule of spacing Maple trees is that trees need to be planted at intervals that are the size of their leaf and root spread. If your species of Maple has an expected leaf spread of 40 feet (ca. 12 m), then your trees need to be planted with at least that distance between them.  Spread them farther if you can or want to. More space away from other plants ensures your Maple tree will not have to compete with other plants. 

Varying species of Maple trees will have different height and width ranges. When you decide on which species of Maple to plant, you should get familiar with their characteristics. This will help you determine the space they need and the care they will require of you. We will break down some of the most common Maples and what you should expect when planting. 

How Much Space Does A Red Maple Need?

The Red Maple (Acer rubrum), also called the Swamp Maple, has been considered one of the most abundant trees in North America. This tree can grow 40 to 70 feet (ca. 21 m) tall and have a canopy spread of 30 to 50 feet (ca. 15 m).  Ideally, Red Maples should be planted at least 40 feet (ca. 12 m) apart. 

Autumn scenery red maple

Red Maples have strong roots that can grow above the soil. Exposed roots can easily be damaged by lawn mowers or become a tripping hazard. This is important to keep in mind when planting. You'll want enough space away from sidewalks or other concrete fixtures as roots can raise these surfaces over time. 

Learn more on our blog post: What Soil Is Best For Maple Trees?

How Far Apart To Plant Sugar Maple Trees?

This species of Maple is part of the lychee family, Sapindaceae. The Sugar Maple (Acer saccharumor Sweet Maple is the national tree of Canada and the state tree for at least four states in the USA.  This tree typically reaches heights of 60-75 feet with a spread of 40-50 feet.  To allow enough space and air circulation, you should plant Sugar Maples 35-50 feet apart. 

Sugar maple (Acer sacarum) in spectacular October light.

Like most species of Maple, these trees love well-drained, deep soil. When you plant your tree, allow for enough space and make sure you pick a location with plenty of full sun. When your Sugar Maple has been well taken care of, you can expect them to flower in April and May, dropping their winged seeds. 

Read more on our blog post: How Fast Does A Sugar Maple Grow?

How Much Space Does A Silver Maple Need?

The Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) is also known as a Soft Maple. This fast-growing tree can grow up to 50-80 feet and a width of 35-50 feet. You should give at least 40 feet (ca. 12 m) of space in between trees.  Silver Maples have grown in a vase shape and become a primary food source for squirrels in the Spring. 

Unusual angle of a Silver Maple Tree in Green Park

The root system of a Silver Maple is noted to be quite extensive or massive. When planting this tree, you want enough space from one another as well as any housing, sewer lines, or concrete pavements.  Why is it called the Silver Maple? If you flip a leaf over, you will notice the underside is a shade of silver. 

How Far From A House To Plant A Maple Tree?

When planting a Maple, being too close to one another is not the only thing to worry about. With some species, their root systems can be extravagant, ranging several feet. This can disrupt homes, pavement, pipelines, and other structures that may be around the tree. 

To keep structures protected and give the tree roots enough room to thrive, you need to provide enough space. Most trees should be planted at least 30 feet (ca. 9 m) away from your house to avoid roots bulging into your space. Like the Silver Maple, some larger species should be planted 100 feet (ca. 30 m) away from any building.

Acer (Japanese Maple) growing in a pot - in full autumn glory and framed in a garden doorway

You can seek smaller species of Maples if you are looking to plant a little closer to your home. Species such as the Japanese Maple offer a less invasive root system and need far less space than most other species of Maple trees. 

Can Maple Tree Roots Damage The Foundation?

Maple tree roots can damage the foundation, but some species are more likely than others to do so. Norway Maple trees and  Silver Maples have been known to cause foundation damage. It is highly recommended to plant these trees far away from any structures to avoid potential damage. 

It's hard to know what is going on beneath the ground. Learning about a specific tree's root system before planting can help you determine how much space they need and plan for possible issues. Some signs of foundation damage to look out for, such as cracks in the walls or warped floor surfaces.

Read more details on our blog post, Can Maple Tree Roots Damage Foundation?

Do Maple Trees Have Invasive Roots?

Certain species of Maple trees do have invasive roots and have become issues for many homeowners and garden enthusiasts. Both Norway Maples and Silver Maple trees are incredibly invasive. They have been reported to invade foundations, sewer lines, and other structures from over 90 feet (ca. 27 m) away.

Acer platanoides branch close up

When planting a tree with invasive roots, you should use extreme care and planning to avoid damaging its surroundings. Luckily, there are plenty of other species of Maples to plant that are just as beautiful and are not invasive. Some examples include Sugar and Red Maples. 

Learn more on our blog post: Do Sugar Maple Trees Have Invasive Roots?

How Far Do Maple Roots Spread?

Maple trees have a root system that grows out versus down. This is why it is common to see exposed roots or roots that are nearing the surface of the soil. This adds to the effect these root systems have on buildings and their foundation. The length of root spread will vary with species of Maple. Keep in mind, the larger the tree, typically, the larger the root system. 

On average, Maple roots will spread at least 25 feet (ca. 8 m) away from the tree. In extreme cases, large Maple roots have spread over 90 feet (ca. 27 m) away from the start of the tree. 

Read more on our blog post: How Long Do Maple Trees Live [By Type Of Maple]

Concluding Thoughts 

A girl planting a maple tree,How Far Apart To Plant Maple Trees - By Type Of Maple

How far apart to plant your Maple trees will depend on the species you are working with. With every tree, think about the height, width, and canopy spread this tree will have at full maturity. These numbers often give you the answer as to how much space your tree will need. 

When adding a tree to your landscape, avoid putting them too close to your home or any other structure you have in the yard. Invasive roots can damage foundations and interfere with piping or sewer lines. We hope you found this article insightful when it comes to planting some Maples of your own. Happy planting! 

Looking for more landscaping ideas? Have a look at our blog post: 12 Types Of Pine Trees For Landscaping