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Helicopters from Maple Trees
Can they be stopped?

Q: I have a couple maple trees that produce thousands of seeds.

They make a large mess and I was wondering if there was anyway to stop them from seeding without killing them.


A: Sadly, there is no magically effective way you can prevent your maples from seeding. Producing seeds is a survival mechanism built into trees, and to get them not to seed goes contrary to Nature.

Although there is a fruit-reduction material that can be sprayed onto certain trees, such as sweetgum or apple, to reduce unwanted fruit, maple is not one of the trees listed on its label.

You might try thinning the tree out. Thinning means the selective removal of live branches to reduce the weight and density of the crown, but by doing so you are also removing branches that can bear seeds, so by pruning you can reduce the number of "helicopters" that float to the ground every year.

You may want to contact a professional to have this done properly, especially if it's a large tree that requires climbing.

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Tom Mugridge

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