Things to Consider When Planting A Norway Maple in Your Yard

Norway Maple Leaves

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Norway maple (Acer platanoides) was introduced by botanist John Bartram of Philadelphia from England to the U.S. in 1756. It has been planted on farms and in towns for its shade, hardiness, and adaptability to adverse conditions, which has ensured that the maple, when planted, would spread like wildfire.

Because of this, and a variety of other negative factors, the Norway maple has earned itself the title of a "Bad Tree," meaning its destruction is often sought out by city governments and concerned landscapers fearing that the large canopy of leaves this particular maple yields will block all other growth underneath it.

However, there is a number of redeeming qualities to this type of trees such as its tolerance to multiple types of soil nutrients and climate conditions, its optimal fall foliage, and beautiful yellow flowers in the spring.

Why Norway Maples Are "Bad Trees"

The shallow, fibrous root system and dense shade of Norway maple make it virtually impossible for grass to grow under the tree, and the aggressive roots frequently girdle even the parent tree, ultimately choking itself to death, making it a bad tree if you're planning on growing anything else around it.

Further, Norway maples are also non-native invasive exotic trees that have escaped the urban environment and is a threat to native maples because of its sun-blocking foliage. Norway maple populations overwhelm sites by displacing native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous understory plants, and once established, creating a canopy of dense shade that prevents regeneration of native seedlings; it is also thought to release root toxins that inhibit or prevent the growth of other plants.

Norway maples also reproduce quickly, forming dense root systems in a matter of seasons that are nearly impossible to fully remove without killing the surrounding soil entirely. However, this isn't to say there are no redeeming qualities for this type of tree.

Redeeming Features

Norway maples are arguably among the most beautiful variety of maple tree currently in North America with rich yellow leaves in the fall under optimal conditions and lovely yellow flowers on leafless branches in the spring.

These trees are also highly resistant to climate conditions and lack of nutrition in the soil and can grow almost anywhere as a result, which makes them great for planting on land that usually cannot support much greenery.

Also, due to their nature of spreading rapidly, harvesting new trees for distribution is surprisingly easy—just replant one of its many roots and a new tree will begin growing in no time. Plus, Norway maples grow rather quickly and provide lots of shade, so they can be used to generate a quick, natural privacy fence for your property.