More than 120 maple species exist. Within each species are hundreds of cultivars bred for specific traits like color, size or form. Buds set in the fall but species type and seasonal weather conditions influence exact budding times.
During the summer months maple trees experience rapid shoot growth. Limbs, twigs and branches increase in length. During the fall, buds set on this new growth. They open the following spring, yielding flowers and leaves, when temperatures rise.
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Species and Cultivars
Red maple (Acer rubrum L.), also called swamp maple and soft maple, is a landscape tree whose growing region extends from Nova Scotia to Florida to Texas and Oklahoma. In cool climates the tree breaks bud in May but in warm regions buds burst in March. Sugar maple also bursts in March while black maple trees experience bud bursts in April.
Maple trees boast strong fall foliage. Foliage develops and provides shade throughout the summer before changing color and dropping in the fall. Maple trees then enter a dormant phase. Pruning takes place during this phase, when it will not interfere with bud development and when sap is least likely to ooze from cut branches.