Tree ID Sugar maple and black birch?

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Locust99

Member
May 11, 2017
113
Upstate, New York
I cut a storm damaged tree for my neighbor that fell down I think it might be sugar maple, but it split pretty easy . It for sure isn't silver or red maple.

Also in the woods I cut a downed tree that I first thought was beech, but now I think it is black birch. The splits have a wintergreen smell. Here's some pics of the bark and leaves.

Thanks for the help!
 

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Yes x2

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+1 on the birch (wintergreen scent)
The maple is Norway maple - Acer platanoides - http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=6
* tight, uniform, fissured bark (compared to platey bark of sugar maple) + samara are large wide (compared to droopy samara of sugar maple)
* A good identifying characteristic: Norway maple will emit a milky, white sap when you pull leaf petiole off the twig.
 
I've found bark means nothing on maples....i have sugars I tap that are closer to beech than the "definition of sugar maple bark"....not the best pic of end grain but the rings on the right looks pretty tight indicating a slow growth sugar maple....the white sap test would be the best answer...probably to late though.

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Thanks for the help guys, I have a tree in my yard with identical bark to that maple which I thought was a sugar maple. I will break off some leaves and see if I get any sap from that.
 
Here is a pic of more of that birch with a maple I cut down which I believe is definitely sugar maple. And some locust towards the front of the truck.
 

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Update, after breaking off some leaves on an identical bark maple in my back yard it did have a white sap. Looks like It was a Norway maple.
 
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The seeds are another key. Norway seeds spread at 180 degrees, Sugar droop together.
 
Norway maple is still pretty good. It's hard to find on BTU charts but based on lumber websites it looks about the same as Ash; but between Red and Sugar. It looks like ~22MBTU/cord. I got 1/3 cord that is about 4mo seasoned and should be ready by next winter. There is tons of it in the suburban areas. It's actually considered an invasive species in NY and doesn't require a permit to cut down on your property: https://www.dot.ny.gov/divisions/engineering/design/landscape/trees/is-vegetation
 
That's good to know, I split it small and hoping to burn it later winter or spring. I didn't know I needed a permit to cut trees here, but that's good anyways because now I know there's 2 Norway maples on my property that need to go. One this winter, it's a leaner with a bad fungus which rotted most of the bottom trunk.
 
That's good to know, I split it small and hoping to burn it later winter or spring. I didn't know I needed a permit to cut trees here, but that's good anyways because now I know there's 2 Norway maples on my property that need to go. One this winter, it's a leaner with a bad fungus which rotted most of the bottom trunk.

It depends on your county but here in Rockland, there are restrictions on how many trees you can remove from your property depending on the tree size and property size. Invasive species like Norway Maple and Black Locust, or certified dead trees don't have any limitations or need a permit. There's one that goes up 10ft and takes a right angle on the side of our yard so I'm thinking about taking that one down when the firewood space opens up.
 
Gotta love the smell of black birch. Around the middle of June some folks around here go out and find a black birch tree to "sap" it. They cut the bark off and scrape the inner part with sharpened spoons. It looks kinda like noodles you make with a chainsaw. They will eat it like that. Then the tree is used for firewood. Tastes pretty good. Plenty of fiber too I suppose. ;lol