Tree Killers: Norway Maple

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  • Common English name: Norway Maple
  • Other names:
  • Latin (scientific) name: Acer platanoides

Threat type

150x150 plants

History in Canada

  • introduced to North America in the mid-1700’s from Eurasia as an ornamental tree
  • occurs in southern British Columbia and from southern Ontario east to Newfoundland
  • widely available from nurseries


  • large deciduous tree that usually grows to 12-18 m (40-60 ft) with a widely-spreading crown
  • leaves are ‘maple-shaped’ and usually dark green
  • leaf stems exude a milky sap when broken
  • the small, greenish flowers appear in early spring followed by the developing seeds
  • the flattened seeds occur in pairs with widely-spreading wings that help with wind dispersal
  • reproduction is by seeds which are produced in abundance and germinate quickly
  • can grow in a wide range of conditions

Impact on Trees

  • grows in dense stands that suppress native tree seedlings due to shade
  • shallow root system prevents native tree seedlings from establishing
  • leaves release toxins that affect soil fungi and microbes
  • very shade tolerant and can out-compete native trees, such as Sugar Maple and Red Oak
  • leaf out is early in spring and leaf drop is late in the fall giving Norway Maple a long growing season compared to native species

What can be done to control this tree killer?

  • cutting trunks followed by herbicide application to the cut trunks
  • herbicide application to seedlings or young saplings
  • several years of control may be needed since the seeds are unaffected by the above methods and seedlings can recolonize an area

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