Some of the best sugar maples grow throughout central New York, and they are a highly valued timber species. Sugar maples have faced decline throughout many regions from competition, over grazing, climate changes and increased pest species.

A widely used popular yard tree, including the Norway maple, specifically the Crimson king variety (Acer plantinodies), requires high amounts of water and nutrients. Norways produce a white milky sap that, unlike the clear sticky sap from sugar maples, cannot be used for maple syrup.

There are warnings on pots of Norway maples at commercial nurseries, disclosing the invasive status present in New York. Combined with urban sprawl and many landscapers' heavy use of the tree, it is enabled to spread into our native forest systems.

Often, tar spot — which is a plant pathogen, that is unsightly to homeowners — infects Norway maple, but sugar maple is resistant.

Invasive plants should not be sold in commercial nurseries, because they add to the continuation of environmental harm. Norway maple is a competitor to many native species, with prolific seed production. Sugar maple is a more valuable species that should be selected as a planted cultivar.

Julia Lampman

Syracuse

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