Do maples have "mast" years?

mayalena(6 - MetroWest Boston)May 10, 2014

Hi fellow gardeners.
I used to frequent this forum, then got busy with work. But I finally have some time to really think about my garden again and I have some questions. Namely, is anyone else pulling record numbers of maple seedlings from their garden beds? I am pulling more than 20 per square foot in some spots -- mostly Norways, I am sure. In my 13 years of gardening, I've never seen anything like it. Was it last year's half-hearted mulching? Or do maples have "mast years" like oaks?
Hope you'll have some thoughts for me.

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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Mayalena! It seems most trees to to seed intermittently, and this is true of the maples in my yard (as well as Oak, Linden, and Yellowwood). The big silver maple in the front yard goes to seed every year, it is an amazingly prolific tree, but one year it was so bad there was a 2 inch layer of wings in the gutters.

The Sugar maple has only had 1 heavy seed year that I can recall in recent years, and I read somewhere they go to seed every 2-5 years.

Norways also seem to be on an intermittent schedule. There are lots of seedlings this Spring, but it's been a few years since I've seen them. BUT - I'll never have to deal with that problem again - finally had the last huge Norway maple removed in March - yippee!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:35AM
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For my red maples, I think every year is incredibly prolific. I haven't seen a year where there were noticeably fewer seeds or seedlings. I do find that mulch makes a big difference in how easily they pull and how many sprout.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:28AM
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mayalena(6 - MetroWest Boston)

Thanks very much. I must have pulled many hundreds again today! It's crazy. But hopefully they have all germinated by now and when I get them up I'll be done for awhile! I am also mulching heavily this year....

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:24PM
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I can't recall ever seeing (or pulling up) this many maple seedlings, and I've heard the same from a handful of people I've talked to around the Boston area. Makes me wonder why they're not the dominant life form on the planet...

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 7:59AM
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mayalena(6 - MetroWest Boston)

Hi Nekobus. Does your name, by any chance, refer to the cat bus in Totoro?
So glad to know you are equally overwhelmed. It's amazing, no? Between maple seedlings and creeping charlie, soon there will be no room for the plants I want in the garden!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 3:12PM
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Hi Mayalena!
Great to hear from you again! I still remember your steep hillside and your efforts to conquer its wildness. Were you successful?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 10:42PM
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Yup, Nekobus is the cat from Totoro. I'm a big Miyazaki fan.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:53AM
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mayalena(6 - MetroWest Boston)

Hi Marie. Great to "see" you and Terrene here. I am still working on my hillside, but I've made lots of progress. If you are ever in this part of town, stop by!
How is your hill? We should start a new thread to compare hill thoughts....

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 9:42PM
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I don't know what a mast year is, but it seems every year there is a proliferation of one thing or another. This year it's maple seedlings. I even saw one from my Japanese maple, which I've never seen before.

I wonder when I'll finish pulling those seedlings out.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 1:47PM
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