Maple Seedlings in the Hosta Garden

thisismelissaMay 29, 2011

Ok, these Maple Seedlings are driving me BONKERS!

Since it seems we've had the perfect year for them, I now have THOUSANDS in my beds and in the lawn. I know in the lawn, normal mowing gets rid of them.

Q1: But is there an FAST way to get them out of my hosta beds? My first garden party is in 2 weeks and I simply cannot spend an entire day picking these out (they are quite easy to pick) and then have to deal with my back for the next 2 days.

Q2: How do I prevent this next year? Does Preen prevent tree seedlings? If so, is it best to put down the treatment just as the snow is melting or last thing in the fall?


Please no smart- alec remarks about me being a baby about this. Our late spring has my days numbered and my to-do list longer than my days! And if the dang rain would just hold up a bit!

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Gesila(MI Z5)

Sorry Melissa, I can offer no advice. I was wondering when the Maple Tree Seedlings were going to start as I hardly have any this year. Hmmm.. since you're further north than me, I wonder what's different for me this year. I usually have thousands of them too.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:43PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

That was the worst year I ever remember for these. It was maddening. I yanked them all out, but for a few weeks it seemed like that was all I was ever doing. If you have a solid forest of them, you can always scissor them down, though I'm not sure that's much easier. As long as you cut below the first pair of true leaves, they will die.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 12:27AM
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I don't think there is an easy way to get rid of them. The way I deal with them is just take care of one small area at a time and break up the entire job of it over a week or two. I have used Preen before and it didn't do anything to the seedlings. It just keeps weed seeds from sprouting.

If the seeds were dry and had just fallen you might be able to use a lawn vac on them depending on the mulch that you have.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 7:47AM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

I just spent the last hour mostly finishing up. I live in maple tree h---. Literally have hundreds of thousands drop and I hand pick up everyone in the beds. Nightmare is an understatement. What is the most irritating is they are NOT my trees. I happily had mine chopped down. Have been dealing for 3 weeks with it. Have no clue what I will do when I get much older. I even tried to look online a couple years ago for something that could be injected in the tree to prevent the trees going to seed. Why is there not? So simple an answer. Of course knowing my neighbors they would not do it even if I paid for it. Best answer if they're your trees is just keep the trees trimmed. I use to have my maple trimmed small every two years and it never went to seed. No take it back, best answer really is to chop them down.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:06AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

My front yard is a nightmare of maple seedlings but the real hell is in the backyard....boxelder and REDBUDS. Holy freakin' cow. Their tap roots are literally from hell. LOL

Do you have any (conscientous - sp?) kids who would want to pull them for a penny a piece? That's what my neighbor does w/ hers!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:33AM
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Hoe and Cultivator - stay away from hosta root zone. Just need to unearth maple seedling so root will dry out.

In the ground covers - pull by hand.

Also in two weeks - your hosta will have leafed out covering much of what you are seeing.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:37AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

A chain saw to the maple would be the best long term solution. In the meantime a "scuffle hoe" might do.

Back when I did vegetable gardening I used one. The idea is you move it back and forth just beneath the soil (or mulch) surface to sever the seedling from it's roots. You should sharpen it with a file before hoeing.

Hey no smart-alec remarks about hoes.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 9:36AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

lol steve

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 9:44AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in the 2 leaf stage.. they are very prone to roundup ...

you know the drill on spraying???? low pressure.. big drops.. etc???


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 9:44AM
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I didn't consider scissors. I think I might try that route.
I've tried the scuffle hoe, but with the 3" of mulch, I think I could hand-pull faster.

They are now at their 2nd set of leaves.

And if I can't get to it, it's gonna get RoundUp. I don't think I'd heard about the "big drops, low pressure" thing Ken. Thanks.

Mine are mostly box elder and silver maple and a few elms mixed in (those I HAVE to pull). And like Chohio, most aren't even mine! And I agree a chainsaw is the best long term choice, but my neighbors wouldn't take kindly to me choppin down their trees!

Thanks everyone! This is at least SOMETHING I can do while it's so flippin' wet out there!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 9:56AM
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ademink(z5a-5b Indianapolis)

If you have to roundup, here is a tip:

cut the top and bottom off of a plastic gallon milk jug.

Set it over the area you are spraying (the handle on the jug makes it easy) and that way you won't overspray/drift onto other plants.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:02AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Preen put on the bed BEFORE the maples go to seed will prevent them from sprouting. And if your mulch is thick enough, a scuffle hoe or just a garden rake will uproot them easily.
I have 3 hard maples which put out their seeds in the neighbors have a silver maple that is sending airplanes everywhere!
Linda c

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:17AM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Three inches of mulch and you're still having them take root? I was thinking if I had mulch down, maybe I wouldn't be having the problem. Sounds like that's wrong.

I'm fighting maple and elm seedlings, so I feel your pain! This year and last year have been by far the worst ever.

I've lived in this house 15 years, and previous to last year, the tree seedlings were pretty manageable. I heard on TV the reason is due to so much moisture over the winter, causing higher pollen amounts, resulting in high germination rates.

I was thinking yesterday if I spend a half hour after work every day pulling them, I might get it done while they're still pullable.

Enough is enough!


    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 12:19PM
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hosta_junkie(Z4 MN)

I too struggle with silver maple seedings, but at least the right long-term solution is in my control. It's my silver maple tree, and it is coming down this fall. I'm still cleaning up the huge dying oak tree I had dropped in my backyard last month and didn't have the appetite to tackle this one until fall. So one more spring of helicopters and seedings to deal with.

Just remember, Melissa, that your gardens do NOT have to look picture perfect. Granted, you want them to look nice, but if you still have a few seedlings to pull in two weeks -- AND if someone comments on them, gladly accept their assistance in pulling a few while they're standing around! I do like the suggestion of hiring a neighborhood kid - hand them a bucket and tell them you'll pay them $5 for each pail full!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 1:09PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

ademink, What a GREAT idea with the milk jug! I have an area of garlic mustard where that will work great. I pull them every year before they get more than an inch or two tall, but they must just send up new leaves from broken bits of root. I want to slaughter them for good.

I wondered why the maple seedlings were worse this year.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 1:35PM
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aka_margo(z5a WI)

The maple seedlings are horrible this year. I am trying to get my yard ready for a garden walk in a few weeks, and every time I think I have them all it starts all over again. I have used a long handled dandelion weeder, as it pops them out from the roots. It saves the back, but it's still tedious.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 3:16PM
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Scissors: SUCKED. Sorry linnea56, I really wanted that to work. But since I wasn't able to get more than 1 per snip, it wasn't worth it.

It's a little too windy today.
I use a pump sprayer for RoundUp, but I think I can use the milk jug idea (with some minor modification) to work for me.
I worked on the worst section of my garden this afternoon. I basically got that done. So, for that, I'm happy. However, that area maybe comprises 10-15% of the total area. So, I have a lot more to do.

Yes, this year has been particularly windy and wet. So it was basically a perfect storm for those danged helicopters.

The good news is that today, I counted the spots that I have for my new purchases. For ONCE in the last 5 years, I can truly say: I HAVE ROOM! Now it just needs to dry out so I can say I HAVE TIME!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 5:36PM
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We have a large mulched, fenced in area for the pups to "do their business" and 6 huge maple trees. 4 are Silver Maples that get the whirly birds in the spring. 2 are Sugar Maples and they get them in the fall. about hating maples. But, I'm too old to cut them down and start over with another type of tree, so I must work around it. Anyway, we've found that cutting them off with the string trimmer will kill them. Works like a charm.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 7:58PM
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