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Silver Maple Root System – Are Silver Maples Invasive?

The Silver Maple, also called white maple or Acer saccharinum is a species of maple that grows in the central and eastern United States and Southeastern Canada.

These trees grow to almost 60 feet tall—more under favorable conditions—and are excessively resistant to drought. They are called Silver Maples because the underside of their leaves is white while the top remains green.

While these particular trees were once planted as a way of beautifying the landscape, they’re mostly avoided in public spaces. This is because the branches of this tree are brittle.

Moreover, they drop bark and splinters everywhere, which simultaneously makes the area messy and sows undesired seeds, not to mention how the falling branches might cause property damage.

Another reason that makes people avoid planting Silver Maples on public grounds is their widespread root system, which has a habit of damaging any property within 25 feet of the tree.

Furthermore, because the roots of these trees are shallow and spread wide, other plants and grass cannot grow around or under them.

Their nature of remaining closer to the ground sometimes makes these roots expose themselves above the soil’s surface and crack pavements and roads.

Now, let us learn if the Silver Maple root system is invasive or not, and learn more interesting facts about this tree and its root system.

Silver Maple Root System Explained

The silver maple root system is invasive. These trees have very strong, shallow tap roots, which can sometimes be destructive to foundations and properties within ten meters of them. Some of them become exposed to the surface of the soil and don’t allow other trees and grass to grow around them.

There are two types of root systems: tap root systems and fibrous root systems.

The tap root system has a main central root. Other small roots, called the “root hairs,” emerge from it as it branches out. It usually goes very deep and grows faster than the trunk. All dicotyledons, like China rose, carrots, mustard, etcetera, have a tap root system.

The fibrous root system has very thin, shallow, and slow-growing roots that, instead of going deep, remain close to the surface. The roots form a mat-like structure and collect nutrients and water by staying close to the surface. 

All monocotyledons, including but not limited to rice, bananas, and so on, have a fibrous root system.

A Silver Maple tree contains the tap root system, meaning, it has very strong roots that go deep into the soil and spread almost twenty-five feet from the source.

Because of their root system, silver maple trees have very strong roots and can spread a lot. These roots are invasive and can cause damage to properties that are present ten meters from the tree.

If any establishments, sidewalks, or pavements are situated in its 10 meter radius, there is a high possibility that they are going to get damaged at some point, as the roots of Silver Maple have a very rapid and extensive growth rate.

The roots of these trees even have the habit of coming out through the surface of the soil, and that can destroy properties like roads, pavements, and so on. Again, due to having a fairly strong root system, other trees cannot grow around or under this tree—not even grass.

Does Silver maple have deep roots?

Yes, the silver maple trees have very deep roots. The root system of a silver maple tree is called the tap root system. This system has a central root that tends to be big and goes almost 75 feet deep from the surface of the soil and spreads up to 25 feet.

The roots of these trees grow very fast, deep, and wide. As a result, uprooting them is very hard, and they stand strong for decades. They’re also very drought resistant since their roots go very deep and can reach the water when the season is dry. They even store water and nutrients.

Although many lateral roots appear, the central root remains the biggest and keeps growing deeper into the soil.

How Deep Are Silver maple Roots? 

The roots of Silver Maple trees go as deep as 75 feet, if not more. They can spread up to 25 feet and live for more than 100 years.

As already mentioned before, Silver Maple trees have taproots. This root system has a main root, called the “Central Root,” and it grows faster than the branches of the trees.

As the tree matures, many lateral roots also emerge, but the central root still remains the largest and the longest.

These trees tend to be drought resistant since their roots grow deep and vast and have access to water levels that don’t dry out in the dry seasons.

But the setback, in this case, is that, because of having very strong roots, these trees tend to not let any other tree or plant grow around or below them, including grass.

Since these trees, as the system claims, have very deep and large roots, they’re very strong as well, and they spread a lot. As a result, the foundations, roads, sidewalks, and pavements built around it are in constant danger of being damaged.

Their roots are shallow and spread in a pattern of a thick fibrous net, and they crack pipelines and pavements, invade drainage systems, pavements, and so on.

Do Silver maple spread or multiply? 

The Silver Maple tree has a habit of spreading extensively, both above the soil and below the soil. This tree has the largest seeds of all the maple variants and has a widespread root system.

By the time a tree is fully grown, while the roots can spread up to 25 feet, the tree can grow almost 50-80 feet and the branches can spread almost 30-35 feet–growing twice the size of a two-story building.

The Silver Maple tree grows massive trunks and strong roots, which can spread really fast, and one can see the tree grow and be at its peak size in one lifetime.

But this characteristic of the tree makes some people call it ‘dangerous.’ This is because the branches, after spreading extensively, sometimes break and collapse. This can cause property damage, like houses, fences, etc.

Therefore, the Silver Maple tree is called a dangerous tree because of its capability to grow to almost twice the size of a two-story building and spread very fast.

Are Silver maple Roots Invasive? 

Silver Maple trees have one of the most invasive roots in the world. Their roots are shallow, strong, can spread up to 25 feet from their origin, and go 17–18 inches deep from the surface of the soil.

The Silver Maple tree has a root system called the “Tap Root System.” This root system has a main central root which can go more than 75 feet deep into the soil and grows faster than the branches on the trunk.

As a result, any tree, foundation, pavement, or sidewalk is in danger of being damaged if it is situated around Silver Maples.

The Silver Maple tree’s root system is not only called invasive; it is also called dangerous and pervasive due to its extensive root system. These roots are shallow and spread wide in the form of a thick fibrous nest-like structure.

As a result, these trees’ root systems have made their name as one of the most invasive trees in the world. 

They, on top of coming out of the soil’s surface and damaging roads, sidewalks, and pavements, don’t let other trees grow and absorb lots of nutrients and water. Their invasive nature tends to crack buildings, swimming pools, and pavements.

Can Silver maple roots damage foundation or pipes?

Yes, the Silver Maple tree is notorious for its habit of damaging properties due to its enormous root system.

When at its peak size, a Silver Maple tree grows twice the size of a two-story building, and its roots can spread up to 25 feet. As a result, when planting this tree, one must be strategic and plan them almost 30 feet away from any foundation, septic system, pipeline, and sidewalks.

These roots are called taproots, and they tend to be thick and strong.

Since the roots of the Silver Maple tree remain shallow, they form a strong network of thick fibrous roots and spread wide, even coming out of the surface of the soil, damaging any plant, pavement, building, or foundation around them.

Therefore, the Silver Maple tree is known as one of the most invasive trees in the world. It has earned its place by damaging the foundations and pipes that are 9 meters around it.

Final Thoughts

The Silver Maples are so invasive that they’re called pervasive, and this tendency has earned them a place as one of the most invasive plants in the world. They grow strong, widespread roots that damage any foundation, septic system, pavement, or pipeline within 25 feet of distance.