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Sugar Maple Root System – Are Sugar Maple Roots Invasive?

Plants indeed are our valued and beloved possessions in the garden or backyard. Besides, gardening is already a popular hobby globally, and recently people have been growing their interest into gardening even more.

However, you need to ensure that no plants interfere with each other – such as plants with invasive roots. This article discusses the root system of sugar maple trees and whether their roots invade or not.

Sugar Maple Root System Explained

Sugar Maple trees have moderate root growth, however they do not have any tendencies to grow invasive roots. You can plant the sugar maple trees away from your home, generally at a distance of 30 feet or more in order to keep any structures away from the reach of its roots in the future.

Sugar Maple tree is a large tree which belongs to the Soapberry family and is native to the eastern part of North America. 

It grows to become a large, ornamental and shade tree which has high commercial value for being the source of maple syrup, maple sugar and its hardwood lumber is useful in manufacturing furniture, woodworks and flooring.

Given its size and vigor of growth, many people assume that Sugar maples have deep and invasive roots but instead, their root system is shallow and have moderately spreading roots. 

For this reason, they do not cause structural damage to any objects or other plants or your garden nearby. 

Regardless, it is suggested that you plant your Sugar Maple trees at a good enough distance far away from your home, garden or pool so that the plant’s roots stay out of your reach.

Southern sugar maple:

Southern sugar maple tree, which also belongs to the Soapberry family, is a deciduous tree that can grow from a height of 20 feet up to 70 feet.

The leaves of the southern sugar maple tree are shallowly lobed with a white bottom. The bark in older trees are pale gray and shaggy, but are smooth in younger trees.

During spring, sugar maple trees bloom small yellow flowers.

The root system of sugar maple trees are shallow and fibrous, however they are strong and have extensive branching. Upper roots tend to grow upwards meanwhile the roots on the lower side tend to grow downwards.

Fall fiesta sugar maple:

Fall fiesta is another type of sugar maple tree that forms a dense rounded crown that provides excellent shade underneath it. 

It can retain its rounded shape despite not pruning and in fall, its leaves change color to a mixture of oranges and reds – more than other variants of sugar maple trees. It is also very durable in the winter and has excellent resistance to pests and diseases.

They have a widespread, deep root system which requires a large plantation space. Their roots are prone to root girdling, thus take precautions before planting to reduce circling or girdling of roots.

Legacy sugar maple:

Legacy sugar maple forms a dense and opal crown. This deciduous tree is low maintenance since they require pruning once their leaves have fully grown in summer. Their root system is shallow and fibrous as well, therefore they do not invade or damage nearby structures.

Does Sugar maple have deep roots?

Sugar Maple tree is a type of maple tree that is native to eastern Canada and also found in northeastern parts of the US. They are commonly known for their bright red and orange leaves during fall and also as a rich source of maple syrup. 

Unlike other maple trees, sugar maple trees have a shallow and fibrous root system which is weaker than other variants of maple trees

This makes their roots less invasive and makes them less likely to cause structural or foundation damage. A sugar maple tree is a great investment into your yard since they live for around 100 years without damaging or affecting its surroundings.

The roots of sugar maple trees do not go as deep as the other types of maple trees. Their root system can grow at an average depth of 12 inches and would grow at a maximum depth of 18 inches. 

They tend to spread across the ground up to 25 feet, therefore it is best if you leave a 30 foot distance of any structures from your sugar maple tree. 

Compared to other maple trees, sugar maple tree root systems are quite shallow but are fibrous with strong, extensive branching. Therefore, it might be easy to assume that they have deep roots, which they don’t.

How Deep Are Sugar maple Roots?

Maple trees are a common sight in several parts of Canada as well as the United States. However, one variant of maple trees called the Sugar Maple trees are known to be native to the eastern parts of Canada as well as northeastern parts of the United States. 

They are an eye-catching bunch of trees since their leaves turn bright orange or red during fall – more than other types of maple trees. 

Being such large trees, it is often assumed that their roots are deep, widespread and invasive. But that is not true in case of sugar maple trees as their roots are shallow and fibrous. 

The depth of the tree often depends on the height of the tree – sugar maple trees tend to grow up to 60 to 75 feet high and be 40 to 50 feet wide when they mature. 

And as the trees grow in size, their roots have to bore deep as well in order to support the gigantic size and weight of the tree. 

A typical mature sugar maple tree has its root system bore as deep as 12 to 18 inches. A fully matured sugar maple tree would also occupy around 20 to 30 feet across the ground. Although their roots are not invasive or deep – they are strong, wide and fibrous once matured.

Do Sugar maple spread or multiply?

Extensive and widespread root systems are commonly observed in many variants of the maple trees. The larger the maple tree is, the wider and spread out their root system is – which could span from 25 to 30 feet from the trunk of a mature sugar maple tree. 

The spreading of the roots differ from varieties of maple trees which have different variations in root growth. 

Sugar maple trees, if allowed to grow properly and freely, would spread and multiply its root system across your yard. A fully matured sugar maple tree would spread its roots up to a maximum radial distance of 25 feet from the tree. 

Therefore, if you are planning to build a structure around the tree, make sure to leave it at least 30 feet away from the tree. Sugar maple trees have moderate growth rate, therefore you would notice the root spreading in the first year and have the time to take the necessary actions.

Are Sugar maple Roots Invasive?

A plant has invasive roots if they spread more than typical plants and spread farther from the tree which affects nearby objects as well. 

We often see trees with invasive roots around abandoned buildings where the roots have grown and damaged several portions of the building and invaded deep into their infrastructure. 

Another way to identify invasive roots is by their exposure above the ground and noticing cracks in the soil. 

The growth of the roots before overwhelming for the soil to contain and thus they get exposed to the surface yet the roots keep growing and invading plants or other structures that come its way.

A sugar maple tree has shallow and fibrous but widespread roots, which means they don’t damage structures around them and are easy to contain – making their root system non-invasive. Thus, we can say, sugar maple roots are not invasive.

Can Sugar maple roots damage foundation or pipes?

There are many variants of maple trees that have invasive roots and if left unchecked and unregulated, they can cause cracks in the foundation wall, uneven door frames and floor surfaces.

When roots grow out, they invade other structures and cause damage – therefore, plants with invasive roots must be planted away from buildings and structures. 

Although many maple trees have invasive roots and cause damages to foundations and pipes, sugar maple roots are different as they are shallow and fibrous. Their roots are not capable of causing damage to structures, foundations or pipes.

Final Thoughts

Although sugar maple trees have a moderate root system, they do not have any tendency to develop invasive root systems. To keep any structures out of the reach of the sugar maple tree’s roots in the future, you can plant the trees away from your home, typically at a distance of 30 feet or more.