Sugar makers and community members alike have noticed a large number of sugar maple seedlings this spring. These first year trees were the result of a large seed year in 2019. Sugar maples begin producing seed when they are about 40 years old or 8" in diameter. Trees produce some seed every year but exceptionally large amounts of seed every 2-5 years. Seed production becomes greater as the tree grows and mature trees can produce thousands of seeds in big years. Mature stands of sugar maple are capable of producing millions of seeds per acre. Maple seeds are winged and produced in pairs, also known as samaras. Usually only one side of the sugar maples double samara seed is viable. When the seed is ripe (after about 12 weeks) it is dispersed by the wind by as much as 300'. Maple seeds are an important source of food for wildlife. Sugar maple seeds have a high natural rate of germination and need temperatures just above freezing for 35-90 days in order to start growing. Of the seeds that do germinate, only a very small percentage will survive the first year.