What’s Going on with Silver Maples?


Have you noticed that silver maples are leafing out sparsely? You are not the only one. I’ve seen it and so have a few others. The silver maples produced a tremendous amount of “helicopters” (samaras) this year.

I think what happened is that the trees put such a major effort into reproduction that they are leafing out a little thinly this year. Trees only have so many resources (energy) to use for different types of growth. For the botanically inclined out there: A samara is an achene with wings. What is an achene? A single-seeded, dry, indehiscent fruit. That is: one seed, dry, and does not open (dehisce) on its own. A sunflower is another type of achene, for example. A samara is a single-seeded, dry, indehiscent WINGED fruit.

Articles reprinted from the K-State Research & Extension Horticulture Newsletter

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2 Responses to “What’s Going on with Silver Maples?”

  1. Deborah Howe Says:

    Sometimes plants reproduce heavily when they’re under extreme stress; it’s their way of making sure their line continues if the stressed plant dies. Might there be some kind of environmental stress that’s affecting the silver maples and so leading them to this reproductive blitz?

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