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Box Elder

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Box Elder

 
A Box Elder tree, otherwise referred to as an ash-leaved maple tree, is a deciduous tree in the maple tree family. It is often found in North America, and naturally tend to grow near rivers. It can reach 30 to 50 feet tall and 30 to 50 feet wide at full maturity. The Box Elder tree requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight to grow well. In terms of hardiness zones, the box elder will grow in zones 4 through 8. While the tree prefers moist, well drained soil, it is tolerant of both acidic soil and drought, and can grow in most mild and cool areas in the United States. The plant is able to grow in a wide range of conditions. The Box Elder can have up to a 1 inch diameter gain in growth the first 15 years. Generally the trees can live about 60 years. 

Regarding appearance, the Box Elder often branches into multiple low trunks, and develops a wide, rounded crown. The twigs are generally slender. The tree has compounded leaves with 3 to 5 irregularly toothed leaflets. They are shallowly lobed, as well as coarsely toothed. The leaves of the box elder are in opposite pairs and at maturity are 6 to 8 inches in length. In terms of color, the Box Elder leaves are generally light green in the summer, and do not change color in the fall. The male and female are generally on separate trees, and fruit forms on the female trees. The fruit are winged nutlets in a pair, about an inch long, and clustered in long stalks. 

Regarding landscape uses, Box Elder trees are commonly planted around residential areas, particularly in parks. They can also be seen in gardens, where the bright green blossoms of the female trees can add some color in the spring. In addition, they are commonly planted to provide a wind block from storms.