Sugar maple is a maple native to the hardwood forests of northeastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario, and south to Georgia and Texas. Sugar maple is an immensely important species to the ecology of many forests in North America. Sugar maples engage in a "hydraulic lift," drawing water from lower soil layers and exuding that water into upper, drier soil layers. This not only benefits the tree itself but also many other plants growing around it. Sugar Maple is the major source of sap for making maple syrup and prized for furniture and flooring.
Silver maple is a weak tree but often introduced in the landscape to the dismay of many who plant it. It can be saved for planting in wet areas or where nothing else will thrive. The maple is also aggressive, growing into septic tank drain fields and undermines water and sewer pipes. Silver maple is closely related to the red maple and can hybridize with it, the hybrid being known as the Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii). The Freeman maple is a popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, combining the fast growth of silver maple with the less brittle wood. The tree has very little value as a forest product.
Acer rubrum or red maple is one of the most common and widespread deciduous trees of eastern North America. Red maple is adaptable to a very wide range of site conditions, perhaps more so than any other tree in eastern North America. Its ability to thrive in a large number of habitats is largely due to its ability to produce roots to suit its site from a young age. Red maple is widely grown as an ornamental tree in parks and in the landscape. Dozens of red maple varieties have been developed and the tree is prized for its fall color.