I've been following this forum for a little while, and now this is my first post!
Yesterday I decided to mulch a young red maple. Before mulching, it was pretty much bare soil. I first laid down a layer of twigs a few inches deep. Then I put down a thick layer of fresh (same day) grass clippings that were already pretty warm. I worked the clippings into the spaces in between the twigs.
This morning I noticed that the tree had dropped most of its samaras. By the evening, it had dropped almost all of them. It seems like this sudden drop is related to the mulching somehow. I'm wondering if maybe the heat in the root zone from the grass clippings is making the tree think that the season is further along than it actually is.
Another theory I have is that maybe pesticides in the grass clippings stressed the tree out. The clippings are kindly donated from the property next door, and I don't know how they treat their lawns, if they use pesticide or not. This seems less likely given how quickly the samara drop happened and the fact that we haven't had rain in a few days (to wash any pesticides from the clippings into the soil).
Any thoughts on what's going on?
At any rate, I'm wondering if I need to be concerned, if I need to remove the mulch to prevent any more damage to the tree. From what I understand, red maples are pretty resilient but I still don't want to kill it!
yep, i would leave a bit more space around the trunk and spread farther out.
regarding the samaras dropping, i suspect it's just a coincidence that the two things lined up. this is the season for red maple to drop seed.
posted 3 months ago
Thanks all. I can definitely pull the mulch away a bit more from the trunk. What's the disadvantage to having a thick layer of mulch?
About the samaras, another plot twist this morning. On a sister tree (same age/species, a few yards away) I saw a squirrel picking off the samaras one by one, taking a nibble, and then dropping the rest to the ground. When I checked under the tree in the picture, sure enough most samaras had the seed part eaten out. So I'm putting my money on the squirrel hypothesis! It does seem that the timing just happened to line up.
"How many licks ..." - I think all of this dog's research starts with these words. Tasty tiny ad:
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