Maple, Boxelder

Maple, Boxelder

Acer negundoDeciduous

Boxelder maple is one of the widest occurring trees across North America, extending from Mexico well into Canada and from the east coast of the US to the west coast.

Boxelder Maple tree in the summer.
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Where To Grow

It typically occurs along streams and low areas but is also very drought tolerant when established. The tree is often described as being fast-growing and short-lived and is generally not favored by for landscape planting. However, it can be a useful and attractive landscape tree, especially in the northern and western parts of the Great Plains where the palette of landscape trees is more limited. Boxelder was once widely planted in shelterbelts in the Great Plains to reduce wind erosion and dust storms, but these shelterbelts have largely been removed. 
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Suitable to plant throughout the state.
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Size at Maturity

Tree Height Tree Spread
25-40' 25-35'
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Tree Characteristics

Boxelder is unusual for a maple in that it possesses pinnate (compound) leaves, each with 3-5 leaflets that resemble poison ivy. The common name “boxelder” refers to the use of its wood in box making and that its leaves somewhat resemble those of elder.  Unlike other maples, the tree is dioecious, meaning there are separate male and female trees.

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Wildlife Benefits

The tree is an important wildlife tree providing food and habit for a wide range of birds and insects, including the boxelder bug, which feeds on female flowers.

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Interesting Facts

Boxelder produces sap that has a high sugar content—meaning you can tap the tree to produce your own syrup! 

Additional Images

Boxelder maple buds in dormancy.