Dealing With Maple Seedlings Everywhere? Here’s What To Do
This spring you may have noticed the explosion of maple seedlings in lawns, flower beds, sidewalk cracks and gutters. They’re everywhere!
Before the first mowing, many lawns looked like tiny green umbrella parties with the maple leaves shooting up just above the new blades of grass. Flower beds and other landscaping patches are still full of them.
Why so many maples this year, you ask?
Well, it’s not just maple trees; some trees and bushes are always more prolific in their seed generating than others. Anyone with a Rose of Sharon bush in their landscaping knows that all of those beautiful summer blossoms require some clean up work – now and later.
Maples, however, are especially good at reproducing themselves. The helicopter seeds they send down can be scattered a fair distance by the wind. It’s a very efficient means of plant reproduction.
Mild winters usually cause maples to produce an especially fine crop of seeds. Normally, many of those seeds lose their potency (or are eaten as food by hungry animals) over the winter. But for winters with snow that sticks around, the seeds are insulated from cold and animal hunger by the blanket of snow covering them. When that snow finally melts, they seeds have ideal conditions in which to slowly germinate.
And so we have become overrun.
Are there different types of maple seedlings?
Maple tree seed identification can be difficult because there are many different types of maple trees- there are 14 varieties common in North America in fact.
Here are some of maybe tree seedling varieties you may find in your lawn:
Japanese Maple Seedlings – these are the brilliant, bright red maple trees that may have fern-like leaves.
Red Maple Tree Seedlings – the red maple is named for its red flowers, red fruit, red twigs, and—of course—its brilliant red fall foliage.
Sugar Maple Seedlings – typically, the sugar maple tree has bright green leaves with five lobes that have no jagged edges.
Where should I look for maple seedlings?
Examine the foundations of your house, garage, and other outbuildings to make sure there aren’t trees sprouting too nearby. Root systems can damage cement work, and trees too close to buildings can pull off paint, siding, or roof shingles as they grow.
If you need help removing trees that have embedded themselves in fences, rock walls, near buildings, or any other unsuitable places, do not hesitate to call Chop. Our arborists know how to remove even the most stubborn tree offenders without damaging your property.
How do I remove maple seedlings growing in my lawn?
If this is the case in your yard, you’re better off pulling them now when their root systems are immature and the soil is still a bit damp. Later on, it will be much more of a chore.
Here are some tips for removing the maple tree seedlings from your yard.
- It is easier to pull unwanted plants out of moistened soil, so be sure to water the area with the tree sprouts slowly and deeply a day or two prior to treatment. Further, plants are more susceptible to herbicides if they are not under drought stress.
- Remove as much of the root system as possible by pulling or digging up small tree seedlings by hand.
- For large sprouts too big to pull or dig up, cut them off at ground level.
- Brush an undiluted, nonselective herbicide such as glyphosate onto the freshly cut surface if the unwanted sprout was established from seed, but not if it’s growing out of the root system of a desirable tree.
- Leave sprouts that are growing out of a tree’s root system untreated, as most herbicides can injure the tree. Instead, simply ensure that the sprout is cut off at the soil surface.
- Monitor the grassy area regularly for the appearance of new seedlings, and pull up the young unwanted plants, or cut them off at ground level as soon as possible after you notice them.