Life Span & Growth Rate of Maple Trees + Tips for Longevity

One of the most recognizable features of maple trees is their unique leaves and vivid range of colors that are on full display during the fall months. There is a diverse selection of maple tree species suited for any type of landscape.

Keeping them alive is easy, but sometimes nature will get the best of them. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to understand how to keep yours thriving for years to come!  

How long do maple trees live? Maple trees can live from 100 to 400 years old! Some species will last longer than others. Members of the Acer family have hardwood that allows the tree to age, growing large and strong over time, but things like pests, diseases, and an improper environment may cause it to die sooner than it should.

Learning more about your specific type of maple tree is important to understanding its life span.

Continue reading for details on the life span of common varieties, their mature height and spread, how quickly they grow, and other factors that may affect a maple tree’s life expectancy. 

Lifespan of Maple Trees – What To Know

The life span of a maple tree mainly depends on the species. However, it can be shortened significantly by improper care and other environmental factors. Understanding its life span will help you to care for it appropriately and keep it thriving!

Life Span of Red, Silver, and Sugar Maple Trees

Some of the most common varieties of maples that you will see planted are the red, silver, and sugar maples. While they all live for a substantial amount of time, each is different and can be negatively affected differently. 

Red Maple – Acer rumbrum

Red maples are usually smaller trees that can live to 130 years or so. They are commonly grown in ornamental settings, which may decrease their lifespan to under 100 years. 

Silver Maple – Acer saccharinum

A maple variety with a shorter lifespan, silver maples typically grow to be 35-65 years old while some have been found to reach 100 years old. They are susceptible to more pests and diseases than other maples, which usually causes them to die before reaching a greater age. 

Sugar Maple – Acer saccharum 

One of the longest-living maple species and most commonly known for the production of maple syrup, these trees will on average thrive for 200 to 400 years! Tapping the tree for its sweet sap does not shorten its lifespan if done correctly! 

Average Mature Height & Spread of Maple Trees

Most varieties of maple trees will grow to be between 60 and 90 feet tall while others have been found up to 120 feet tall!  There are also smaller varieties that tend not to grow over 30 feet tall. Without pruning, their canopies can grow to be 35-40 feet wide when fully mature. 

How Fast Do Maple Trees Grow?

Maple trees can grow moderately quickly, averaging 12 to 24 inches per year. This is depending on the species variety as well as its overall growing environment.

A lack of water, substantial nutrient deficiencies, or other stressors will minimize its ability to grow. 

How To Tell the Age of a Maple Tree

When looking at a maple tree, it can be a daunting task to guess how old it is. Luckily there are 3 easy steps to determining the age of a maple tree mathematically that you can try yourself. Follow them below!

  1. Measure 54 inches from the ground on the trunk and mark it with a string or chalk. Then wrap the tape measure around the width at that height to get the average circumference.
  2. Divide your measurement of the tree’s circumference by 3.14 to find the diameter of the trunk. 
  3. Depending on which species of maple tree it is, use the appropriate factor below to multiply the diameter. This will give you its approximate age. 
  • Silver Maple = diameter multiplied by 3
  • Red and Norway Maple = diameter multiplied by 4.5
  • Black Maple = diameter multiplied by 5
  • Sugar Maple = diameter multiplied by 5.5
A pretty maple tree in a field on a summer day.

Factors That Affect a Maple Tree’s Life Span

Many factors may contribute to a shorter life span. Its ability to absorb ample water may hinder its growth while pests and diseases will also stress the tree.

Maples grow quickly, so a lack of space to grow above and below the soil may cause their health to decline once they outgrow their space. 

How To Save a Dying Maple Tree

See the steps below to help save your dying maple tree. With some TLC, you’ll see it thriving in no time!  

  1. Identify the main stressor on the tree. It may be negatively affected by the soil condition, improper soil moisture levels, pests, or diseases.
    • The most common issues that result in the declining health of your maple tree are related to root health. Be sure the roots of your tree have not been disturbed and are not oversaturated, or dry. 
    • Other times the trunk, canopy, and branches may have been damaged. Inspect the tree fully to determine if any wounds may be causing the tree to suffer. 
  2. Correct any issues you may suspect to be the cause of your tree’s declining health. If there are pests, treat them with neem oil or insecticidal soap. If the roots are overly saturated, attempt to allow the soil to dry up. Or if it is too dry, begin watering it more. 
  3. Over the coming weeks, you are sure to see new leaf growth and a happier tree begin to grow! 

Tips for Ensuring Your Maple Tree Thrives

A maple tree will usually tolerate many growing conditions without any issues. However, there are always things you can do to help it thrive! 

If newly planting a maple tree or caring for an established tree, these tips will help to reduce the chances of it experiencing stress over the seasons. 

  • While they seem to handle many soil textures, they prefer slightly acidic soil. Aim for a soil pH range of 5.0-7.0. 
  • While all maple trees need the sun to grow, some prefer shadier areas rather than full sun. Sun scorch can cause a tree not to be able to photosynthesize. 
  • Be sure to water it regularly but only once the soil has had time to dry out. Using mulch to cover the soil at the base of your tree will help to regulate the soil moisture. 

Related Questions:

How Long Do Norway Maple Trees Live?

The Norway maple will live up to 250 years in its native regions; however, when grown in cultivation, they usually live to be 60 years old. 

Can You Grow Maple Trees in Pots?

Maple trees can be grown in pots, but some varieties will do better than others. Since they grow large, they need ample soil space in which to grow.

Japanese maples are commonly grown in containers because they are a smaller mature variety and have a slow growth habit with smaller root systems. 

Conclusion 

Planting a variety of maple trees in your landscape will make a great focal point that requires little care. With their long life span and beautiful foliage, they will put on a fall show for years to come!