Monday, June 17, 2013

Propeller seeds ...

Picture of Marlene Terry
Marlene Terry

Heaven knows I love my trees, especially the massive red maple in our backyard. But this is just too much.

Beautiful picture of a maple tree in Marlene's backyard turning colors in the fall
From the end of June to September the tree is the most lovely sight you can imagine. Those leaves that begin bright lime green in the spring, turn slowly to a stunning crimson in the fall.
We — our family and friends — sit happily under its shade for hours, as we listen to the wind chimes propelled by the gentle swaying of its branches, and watch as many different varieties of birds gladly accept  its harboring protection for themselves and their young.

So what's the problem you ask?

I was chatting recently with my sweet hairdresser Debbie, when the conversation turned to her tree ... a fast growing red maple in her front yard.
"Have you ever noticed those little propeller shaped seeds that fall out of maple trees? She asked, as I nearly choked at the thought. "Well we have hundreds that have fallen, germinated and are now growing, living trees that are everywhere! Is there any way to stop that?"

Picture of leaves in the grassHave I seen those little propeller shaped seeds? That's a major understatement. We've endured the yearly seed monsoon for years. During the month of May I watch them develop. And after every wind storm I make it a point to rake them up as thoroughly as possible. 

And why?

Maple trees in the lawn, maple trees in the vegetable garden, maple trees in the flower garden, maple trees growing out of cracks in the cement, maple trees growing from the seed itself with no covering of soil at all, and even maple trees growing from moss on the side of the house. Seeds that don't sprout and grow, blow into and fill up every conceivable cavity, corner and depression IN THE WORLD as well as parts of the human body!  ... And it's driving me crazy!

Believe me when I say I've tried everything.
Weed killer (even thistle prevention) will not take them down ... they're trees.
Mowing the lawn extra short hides them for a day or two, but soon, the seedlings sprout again and THRIVE!

So to answer Debbie's question: After exhaustive research, I found at that a well-timed application of plant-growth regulator (a chemical designed to prevent fruit from forming), minimizes and/or eliminates those pesky seeds.
... Now all I have to do is locate a spray tank with the capacity to reach the top of that 100-foot monster.

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