Maple trees are loved for their beautiful leaves and the bountiful shade they provide as well as their often spectacular fall colors.
Not all maples will thrive in the continental climate of Kansas, and the drier west can be challenging for some species.
However, KS has several native maples and others that grow well there. No matter which Kansas growing zone you live in, you can find one that works for you.
Let’s look at some of the maple trees you can grow in Kansas.
5 Maples Trees That Grow and Thrive in Kansas
1. Silver Maple – Acer saccharinum
Silver Maple is a gorgeous maple tree with classic lobed leaves with silver-white undersides and long petioles (leaf stalks) that allow them to flutter attractively in the wind while flashing their silver undersides.
In the fall, the leaves turn an attractive shade of yellow or orange.
Silver Maple is native to the eastern half of Kansas and in the northwest. They are found growing in woodlands, floodplains, and riparian habitats.
These fast-growing and highly adaptable trees prefer deep, moist, acidic soil in full sun or partial shade but tolerate various soil pHs, quality, moisture, and urban pollution.
While Silver Maple has fallen out of favor as an urban street tree since its shallow roots can be aggressive and damage sidewalks and structures, they make gorgeous shade trees anywhere they have room for their roots to grow.
You can also learn how to identify Silver Maple.
Other Common Names: Creek Maple, Silverleaf Maple, Soft Maple, Water Maple, Swamp Maple, White Maple
USDA Growing Zones: 3 – 9
Average Size at Maturity: 50 – 80 (to 100) ft tall, 35 – 50 ft spread
Flowering / Fruiting Season: Inconspicuous flowers emerge before the leaves from March to April; samaras (winged seeds) mature around June
2. Caddo Sugar Maple – Acer saccharum ‘Caddo’
The beautiful Sugar Maple, famous for their maple syrup production, is native to Kansas along the eastern border next to Missouri. It is often grown throughout Kansas but can have trouble with the hot, dry summers in much of the state, where it may suffer leaf scorch.
Caddo Sugar Maple, however, is a more drought-tolerant variety of the Sugar Maple that was discovered growing in an isolated population in Caddo County in Oklahoma.
Its leaves are more leathery, allowing them to withstand drought and leaf scorch better than most maples. They also tolerate the alkaline soils found in some parts of KS.
The Flashfire Maple is one of several cultivars derived from those original trees in Caddo County that would perform exceptionally well in Kansas.
They are best grown in full sun in any well-drained soil; they will do poorly in wet or compacted soils that do not drain well.
Other Common Names: N/A
USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 9
Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 45 ft tall, 25 – 40 ft spread
Flowering / Fruiting Season: Inconspicuous yellow flowers emerge in April or May with the leaves; samaras (winged seeds) mature in September
3. Boxelder Maple – Acer negundo
In the fall, the leaves turn a vibrant shade of yellow.
Boxelder Maples are a common native tree in Kansas, widespread throughout most of the state, thanks to their tolerance of a wide range of soils and climates. They can grow in full sun or partial shade in wet or dry soil, sand or clay, acid or alkaline, and tolerate both floods and droughts.
Since they are already native, Boxelder Maples will grow very well anywhere you live in KS, where they should be easy, low to no-maintenance trees already adapted to your climate and conditions.
For more information, check out how to identify Boxelder Maple.
Other Common Names: Box Elder Maple, Manitoba Maple, Ash-Leaved Maple
USDA Growing Zones: 2 – 10
Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 50 ft (to 80 ft) tall, 30 – 50 ft spread
Flowering / Fruiting Season: Small yellow flowers emerge between March and May, with or before the leaves; samaras (winged seeds) mature from September to October
Available at: Nature Hills
4. Red Maple – Acer rubrum
The Red Maple is a beautiful maple native to eastern North America, just south and east of Kansas.
It grows naturally in various habitats, from low-lying swamps to dry upland forests in various soil types. However, it grows best in full sun to partial shade in moist acidic soils.
Red Maples are incredibly popular landscape trees widely planted throughout North America for their three-lobed leaves that turn a vibrant red in the fall.
It also has reddish twigs, reddish winter buds, and reddish flowers in spring, followed by often red samaras (winged seeds). It is no wonder they call this tree the Red Maple.
While some people feel this tree has been overplanted, and its range has expanded because of human disturbance, it is not very invasive (preferring disturbed sites). It is still a lovely maple worth considering.
You can also learn how to identify Red Maple.
Other Common Names: Swamp Maple, Water Maple, Soft Maple
USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 8(9)
Average Size at Maturity: 75 – 100 ft (to 120) ft tall, 30 – 50 ft spread
Flowering / Fruiting Season: Small reddish-pink flowers emerge before the leaves in March or as early as February in warm years; samaras mature between April and June
Available at: Nature Hills
5. Amur Maple – Acer tataricum ssp ginnala
The Amur Maple is another very popular maple used in landscaping in Kansas for its hardiness and adaptability.
This Asian native is a small tree or multi-stemmed shrub with glossy three-lobed leaves that are easily recognizable by its much larger central lobe, allowing you to differentiate it from the Red Maple quickly. The leaves turn a fiery red or sometimes yellow in the fall.
Amur Maples prefer full sun or partial shade and moist, well-drained soil and are moderately drought-tolerant once established. In very hot summers, however, their leaves may scorch in full sun.
These trees spread both vegetatively and by prolific seeds and have recently been recognized as an emerging invasive plant in North America.
It has not yet escaped cultivation in Kansas, but I strongly encourage you to plant one of your lovely native or other non-invasive maples or Kansas oak trees instead.
You can also learn how to identify Amur Maple.
Other Common Names: Siberian Maple
USDA Growing Zones: 3(2) – 8
Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 20 ft (to 35 ft) tall, 10 – 20 ft spread
Flowering / Fruiting Season: Small, fragrant pale yellow flowers emerge in spring; samaras (winged seeds) mature in late summer
Majestic Maples That Grow in Kansas
Maples are beautiful, majestic trees that are famous for their lobed leaves and showy fall colors.
Kansas has the perfect climate to grow these beautiful trees, no matter where in the state you live. Even if you live in the drier west, simply give your new tree lots of water during the establishment phase and it will perform well.
One maple tree I strongly discourage anyone in North America from planting is the still popular but highly invasive Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) that has been aggressively invading forests throughout North America.
Now that you have learned about the different maple trees that will grow and thrive in Kansas, you can plant one of your own. Then you can sit back and enjoy the shade and fall colors!
- 25 Common and Native Trees in Kansas
- 12 Flowering Trees in Kansas (White, Yellow, Purple & Pink)
- 12 Fast Growing Shade Trees for Kansas
- 8 Nut Trees You Can Grow in Kansas
- 7 Types of Fruit Trees That Will Thrive in Kansas
Lyrae grew up in the forests of BC, Canada, where she got a BSc. in Environmental Sciences.
Her whole life, she has loved studying plants, from the tiniest flowers to the most massive trees.
She is currently researching native plants of North America and spends her time traveling, hiking, documenting, and writing.
When not researching, she is homeschooling her brilliant autistic son, who travels with her and benefits from a unique hands-on education about the environment around him.