Rocky Mountain Maple

Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

We are having a great time exploring our new property in Kalispell, Montana. Not only is it exciting to find footprints for animals we hadn't seen before, but investigating the various types of trees is also fun. Among the Larch, Ponderosa Pine, Lodgepole Pine, White Birch and Quaking Aspens, we found something else.  Dotted here and there in the forest are Rocky Mountain Maple trees.


Now why might this be interesting? A tree's a tree's a tree....  Well, nope. Rocky Mountain Maple trees are strange. They are totally unlike the huge magnificent single-trunked Maple trees of the East Coast that grow tall and strong and have beautiful red and orange leaves in the Fall.


As some background, no one has ever lived on our property although many decades ago, it was "parked out" so there was forestry work done at some point. But it has been decades since any of the trees were touched, cleaned, removed, or whatever. And the Rocky Mountain Maples are a mess.


The Maples here don't get very tall, and tend to grow under or near other trees. Each Rocky Mountain Maple has multiple tree trunks that grow skyward. Old trees could have 10 or 20 different trunks. And when Spring comes, new shoots grow from still-healthy branches on existing trunks, or they just sprout from the ground up. So the old tree trunks eventually die, but typically stay in place on the tree until they finally crack and fall over. It's hard to explain this, so I'll try to do it with photos.


The first photo below a picture of a Maple tree near our driveway (prior to pruning). It just looks like a big pile of junk. You may or may not be able to tell, but there are a lot of bushes and young pine trees also growing around the tree. In addition, the old trunks of the tree are in varying condition; some are only a few years old and still strong with new shoots, some are old and have fallen over and some (the red ones) are brand new 2020 growth. I included a close up view of the inside section of the tree. A hodgepodge of old and new growth.


Rocky Mountain Maple




A few hours after the above photos were taken, I had accumulated a pile of dead branches (left) that I just snapped out of the ground from this one Maple tree. Interestingly enough, the dead parts of the tree make GREAT firewood. They ignite quickly. And what I found when I researched these trees is that Rocky Mountain Maples are fire dependent and when fires don't occur, their growth may decline. Apparently, fires kill the tops of the maple trees but the root sprouts allow the tree to persist and even increase post-fire. Because Montana's dry climate does make forest fires probable, I found that quite interesting.


The trees are also very valuable for other reasons. Game such as deer, elk and even moose eat the plant throughout the year. The Maples also provide cover for multiple types of birds and small mammals.


Below is a picture of the tree, post-pruning. I only left the branches that have new growth or are new trunks. You can see it's growing right next to a Quaking Aspen. I have no idea what the Maple will look like once it has leaves on it, as I've never seen a fully blooming version. So I am looking forward to snapping another photo in a month or so.


Rocky Mountain Maple

So if you are ever in the Kalispell, Montana area and you see what looks like a big pile of broken and old branches in a big heap, keep looking. It just might be an old and in-need-of-some-TLC Rocky Mountain Maple tree.


For more Kalispell Montana information, click here! And as always, if you need help selling or buying a home in the Flathead Valley, you can contact me at 406-270-3667 or via email at


Originally published at

Posted by


Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat

Licensed Broker, CBR®


Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp

P.O. Box 10458

Kalispell, MT 59904




406-270-3667 (MT)


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Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I don't know a lot about trees and I enjoyed learning something about the Rocky Mountain Maple.  It sounds like there is a lot of work for you to do on your land.

Apr 23, 2020 08:07 AM #4
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Well that was some pruning job you did there, it looks much better then before. Probably good to clear the dead wood anyway to help prevent or slow a forest fire. At least you have plenty to keep you busy.

Apr 23, 2020 08:25 AM #5
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

You are learning so much at your new digs, Kat. Thanks for the rocky mountain maple lesson. Bob Crane probably finds your property and trees of interest.

Apr 23, 2020 08:58 AM #6
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

We have so much dead wood in the area, Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - it'll take a very long time to pick it all up (years).

Lottie Kendall - I am learning so much here. I thought of Bob Crane and wondered if he would tell me that wasn't a Rocky Mountain Maple - haha. We had to do some research to figure out what it was.

Apr 23, 2020 09:59 AM #7
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Kat and Yes so different then Maples back east.  I was amaze the first time I saw some since I grew up in Pennsylanvia.

Apr 23, 2020 10:46 AM #8
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

Very neat Kat Palmiotti . I bet we have them here and I didn't even know that it is a tree. They sure look more like a bush of some sort. I'm looking forward to you posting the leafy version.

Apr 23, 2020 11:58 AM #9
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Kat Palmiotti - I really learned along with everyone else.  Now I am interest and will have to Google more.

Apr 23, 2020 12:31 PM #10
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Nice. I remember when I lived in Colorado. It was so hard to keep some of the trees alive. Worth it!

Apr 23, 2020 01:08 PM #11
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Yes, Will Hamm - they are definitely vastly different than the NY Maple trees!

I will post it Bob "RealMan" Timm - I suspect we'll have leaves in a few weeks!

Good afternoon Grant Schneider - I googled as well and couldn't find much about the life/death cycle of the different trunks. I thought that was the most interesting part.

Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty - Nice photo, and thanks for your comment!

Apr 23, 2020 01:16 PM #12
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Welcome to the NW,  Everything is different here or, if you have lived here your whole life, every thing or body is different...

OBTW, We do have the east coast maple here in Washington 

Happy Thursday Kat Palmiotti 

Apr 23, 2020 01:56 PM #13
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Thank you Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS - I heard east coast maple was hard to grow here due to the alkaline nature of the soil. That being said, I have seen a few (but not on our property). Enjoy your Friday!

Apr 24, 2020 05:14 AM #14
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Home and Condo Specialists

Very different Kat from our Maples on The East Coast. How very interesting to learn something new in your new beautiful area!

Apr 24, 2020 08:23 AM #15
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Deer, elk, and moose all enjoy browsing on these bushes.

Apr 24, 2020 12:49 PM #16
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Thank you Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400 - they are definitely different than those NE ones!

Bob Crane - That's great news. We really want to see an Elk! Or a moose...

Apr 24, 2020 06:17 PM #17
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Kat:

This was great fun to read and some terrific education. Sounds you are having a wonderful time learning more about your property and how different it is from where you used to live. Love your photos!


Apr 25, 2020 03:08 PM #18
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I am, Jeff Dowler, CRS . This place is wonderful!

Apr 25, 2020 06:35 PM #19
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kat what a great post and I remember Maples being different on the East Coast, that is just someone who lived in CT, NY, MA and traveled in NH and Maine to name a few:)Endre

Apr 27, 2020 11:40 PM #20
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Yes, Endre Barath, Jr. - NY/CT/MA/NH/VT maples are totally different! I hope your day is wonderful...

Apr 28, 2020 05:33 AM #21
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Hi Kat Palmiotti - Fascinating post about Rocky Mountain Maples and the types of wildlife you've discovered thus far! You will never be bored! What an exciting time it is to get out and do physical labor that will benefit you come winter and fall with kindling and firewood stored. You did quite a bit of work that turned out to be very productive! I love it! Once you get the brush cleaned up those trees are going to love you! I have no knowledge about Rock Mountain Maples but what a fascinating subject! Another great entry for perhaps your upcoming book about life in Montana.  

Apr 29, 2020 08:48 AM #22
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Very interesting. This all news to me. Good for you taking on that job!

Apr 29, 2020 08:56 AM #23
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Kat Palmiotti

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