Tree Profile: Norway Maple
Norway Maples (Acer platanoides) are native to Europe but now constitute a major part of the urban forest in Eastern Massachusetts. They are fast growing and can reach 100 feet or more in height. They have earned a bad reputation and are now listed as invasive and are prohibited for sale. They were planted in the landscape in the 1950s but no one knew what a problem they would become.
Norway Maples are undesirable because they:
- develop many structural issues – such as cracking, decay, poor branch attachments and tend to snap and break apart in storms
- are earliest to flower and last to drop leaves – which allows them to grow more successfully than native Red and Sugar Maples
- develop very dense tree tops that shades/ kills most other vegetation growing underneath
- self seed all over the place from wooded borders to abandoned lots and hedges
Of course, they are large trees and do provide benefits such as shade, wildlife habitat and air filtering and therefore preservation should be considered when possible. Because these maples develop more issues as they become older and larger, they need more intensive management than other species do. The best approach is to have your tree inspected by a qualified arborist and then develop a pruning plan and installation of cabling and bracing specific to your tree’s needs.