Native to southern Canada and the eastern United States.
A number of plots have shown promising growth in southern Britain but no provenance trials have been established; seed sources from the northern part of the natural range should be used.
This is an early successional species with rapid early height growth; its tolerance of shade is influenced by site quality being higher on better sites. Best growth is found on soils of poor to medium nutrient regime and slightly dry to moist moisture status. It is not suited to alkaline, very dry, very poor, or peat soils. It is cold hardy but is not as tolerant of exposure as sycamore.
Pests and pathogens
Sapstreak disease, caused by the fungus Ceratocystis virescens, is a serious threat to silver maples in North America, although the pathogen is not present in Europe. Sapstreak is a fatal disease; infected trees do not recover. Like other maples, it is also susceptible to Verticillium wilt.
This is a species which appears best suited to lowland Britain and which may find a greater role with climate warming.