Darned maples

The garden would be a happier place if not for swamp maples (Acer rubrum) that hover over its margins. No, the shade is not distressing, it is the many thousands of seedlings that are the annoyance. I do not fret over the scattered seedlings of tulip poplars and blackgums that occasionally must be plucked, and seedlings from the many planted Japanese maples are encouraged on occasion.

Densely planted areas are less prone to weeds, but a few maple seedlings manage to find any open ground.

Certainly, weeding is a part of the garden. But, unlike some others who claim to enjoy the entirety of the experience, repetitive labor and all, I would joyfully forgo this seemingly endless chore. And, maples are the worst, with seeds drifting far from the parent trees, and with a high percentage of germination in fertile garden beds. I am not one to curse every annoyance, but I mutter every time I must bend to pluck another dozen seedlings.

Ground covers such as Blue Star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) are effective in preventing many weed seedlings.

As expected, damage from our mid May freezes has been mostly covered over. Now, the gardener’s concern shifts to high heat and drought that must be around the corner, though that seems far away as I lounge in dappled shade on this breezy and wonderfully pleasant afternoon. The patios and paths are a mess, my wife points out, littered with debris of cold damaged leaves. If visitors were expected I would consider a quick cleanup, but the browned leaves will decay or blow away as always, and I’m hardly bothered by less than pristine conditions. My vision for the garden does not require perfection, but I’ be happier with fewer maple seedlings.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Bill Canis says:

    A common ground cover is vinca minor. In one area of my garden, the dogwood and rhododendron that are surrounded by vinca are not doing well. Is it possible that the vinca saps water and nutrients to those other plants? They were planted 2
    30 years ago.

    1. Dave says:

      I have vinca planted in a number of areas, including some with variegated or yellow leaves, without issues. Rhododendron and dogwoods are both somewhat touchy about root disturbance, but the shallow roots of vinca seem unlikely to cause a problem.

      1. Bill Canis says:

        Ok thanks. A dogwood and Rhody are showing a lot of stress and I’m not sure why. They have thrived in this spot for 20 years.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    I think that any tree seedling that is too abundant is the worst, especially if someone cut them down earlier instead of pulling them.

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