Red Maple Facts

by J. Morton Galetto, CU Maurice River

Red maples (Acer rubrum) are common in New Jersey. They have a smooth, silvery-gray bark. A quick growing tree, reaching heights of 40 to 70 feet and with a diameter between 1 ½ to 2 ½ feet, it is often planted to add color to a landscape. The buds or samaras are eaten by gray squirrels, deer, rabbits, flying squirrels, and others. Porcupines like the bark. The raw seeds from the samara are bitter and need to be cooked to be palatable.

Its wood is more dense than other species in the maple family, but not as dense as “hard maple.” It has been used for furniture, cabinetry, paneling, musical instruments, tool handles, butcher blocks, and many more items. It is also a good wood for fuel.

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