Norway Maple

Fact SheetTreatmentAcer platanoides

Images of this species:

Common look-alikes:



Acer platanoides is a tree that usually grows to 40-60 feet in height, but can reach heights of 100 feet. The bark of the tree is grayish and regularly and shallowly grooved.


The palmately lobed leaves are opposite and have 5 to 7 sharply acuminate lobes (with large but few teeth). These leaves are 4-7 inches wide. The leaf petioles exude a white sap when broken. The leaves are usually green in color, but there are some cultivars that have dark red leaves. The fall color of the green leaves is yellow.


The flowers appear in April and May and are yellow-green in color. They are borne in erect, pedunculate, rounded corymbs. Each flower is 0.25 inches wide.


The pendulous fruit measure 1.5-2 inches in length. The fruit are samaras that are green when young and turn yellow, then brown, with age. The samara wings are divergent, reaching nearly 180 degree angle to each other and are dispersed by wind.


This species is Quarantined: Class B Noxious Weed


Native to Europe and Asia, Norway maple was first introduced to the United States by the famous Pennsylvania botanist, John Bartram, in 1756. It was seen as a very popular street tree because of its hardiness. However, it has readily spread through New England forests and is now regarded as an invasive species, capable of shading out native trees.


Man-made or disturbed sites, forest edges, and forests. 

Life Cycle

The yellowish-green flowers of Norway maple appear in stalked clusters in mid to late April as the leaves are expanding. They are insect pollinated. Fruits mature in late summer into wide-spreading wings that split down the middle. Large numbers of shade-tolerant seedlings are produced. Populations of these trees will also expand locally by vegetative reproduction. 

ecological threat

  • Unlike native tree species, Norway maple hosts very few native caterpillars, reducing an important food source for bird populations
  • Native mammals do not recognize Norway maple seeds as a food source, further reducing native tree populations.
  • Norway maple (Acer platanoides) provides breeding habitat for another highly invasive species, the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), an insect that threatens to significantly reduce North American hardwood forest stands. Research shows female beetles will live longer and produce more fertile eggs on non-native Norway maples than on native red maples (Acer rubrum).


Management Options

Mechanical Control

Hand pull - Any time of year when the ground is soft, especially after a rain, hand pull small plants by the base of the stem. Be sure to pull up the entire root system. Hang from a branch to prevent re-rooting. For larger young plants, use a wrenching tool. Continue to monitor the area every year for new seedlings.

Cut stump - Cut plants back in the fall or winter. Wrap a few layers of burlap or thick plastic over the stump and tie tightly with twine or rope. Check covered stumps periodically and cut back any new growth.

Chemical Control

  • Be careful not to damage or kill nearby native plants when conducting management work.
  • Always read and follow pesticide label directions. Application of pesticides may require a certification from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The Agency website provides information on what applicator certification is needed.

Cut stump - Cut the plant 4 inches above the ground. Use a drip bottle to apply a 18-21% glyphosate solution to the stump within one hour of cutting. This is best done in late summer through winter when plants are transporting resources to their root systems.

Low volume foliar spray - This method is used for dense populations and best left to a contractor. In the fall, when native plants are losing their leaves, spray a 2% glyphosate solution on the entire leaf surface of the plant. In order to avoid drift to native plants, spray only on calm days.


Photo credit

Norway maple leaf, 5391792, John M. Randall, The Nature Conservancy,

Norway maple twig, 5509685, T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,

Norway maple tree form, 5509686, T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,

Norway maple bark, 5499602, David Stephens,

Fruit (samara), 5509683, T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,

Fall foliage, 5509679, T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,

Sugar maple, 5032015, Joseph OBrien, USDA Forest Service,

information credit

GoBotony, Norway maple

Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, Norway Maple

University of Minnesota Extension