Why do maples matter?

Healthy sugar maples planted along a lane way in the Hockley Highlands more than 50 years ago.Our Native Maples are disappearing from the landscape of rural southern Ontario.

In the late 19th century, farmers planted roadsides and lane ways with maples from their woodlots in return for a government incentive. This gave rise to a legacy of lines of maples and other hardwoods bordering roads and dividing farm fields.

Many of these trees are now degrading and are not being replaced by Native Canadian Maples.

It can be cheaper but ultimately less effective to plant a cultivar or invasive species which has been imported from elsewhere, often the United States. We think it’s important to re-introduce and further restore Native Maples as a visual feature on the rural landscapes in southern Ontario.

What is so special about Native Canadian Maples?

flagMaples are known for their gorgeous fall foliage
  1. The maple leaf is Canada’s national and arboreal symbol. As such, we should encourage the planting of native maples in this country as a symbol of national pride and identity.
  2. Maples provide their glorious fall colours which are the envy of many, and are sought after by fall-colour bus and train tour operators and others who appreciate the beauty of our native maple trees. Muskoka’s local fall revenues illustrate this.
  3. Native trees are naturally adapted to the local climate, site conditions and growing with other indigenous species
  4. They are relatively resistant to severe weather events as was demonstrated during the recent ice storm. Native trees recovered best from the 1996 ice storm as well.
  5. They have evolved with local insects and disease pathogens, and pest problems tend to be minimal
  6. They perpetuate local ecosystem functions such as soil and water conservation and wildlife habitat – food and shelter
  7. In urban and rural areas, maple trees provide multiple values, including aesthetic beauty and urban shading and its associated reduction of summer electrical power requirements. Erosion control, dust interception, forest products, and surface water run-off management are other important values.