Wednesday, May 12, 2010


This is horse chestnut Fort McNair.  Its a good tree.  A bit susceptible to mildew in the fall but otherwise not remotely needy.  To be fair I suppose the eight maples in the backyard are not particularly needy either.  They are better described as annoying in the springtime.  Annoying due to the propeller factor.

Propellers are what I call the seeds of maples.  They fall from the trees like thousands of little helicopters.  The kids have a rip roaring good time throwing them up in air and watching them spin downwards.  Unfortunately when weekends are spent taking apart all of the gutters to remove the propellars, our joy at throwing them off the roof is much more limited.  We have grates on all the gutters to prevent this sort of maintenance need of course.  The problem is, propellers laugh at these grates.

Beyond, the hint of not  planting maples within 500 feet of your roof, my only advice with respect to propellars is about mulch timing.  Try to avoid mulching before propellar season.  If you don't, you get this. 
Once it rains, all these propellers sprout.  They then become weeds with very sturdy roots.  Better to take a leaf blower at them to blast them into the yard then to let them sprout.

I've considered spending the upcoming weekend on propeller clean-up but the ten day forecast is looking just too good.  Instead, if the forecast holds, I'll be giving Mystery 1 and Mystery 2 tomatoes some company and will be emptying out the cold frame and planting it all out. I already have baby tomatoes starting on Mystery 1, in the foreground as well as several other varieties that I put out a couple of weeks ago.  It's time to get their brothers out there and producing.  Times a wasting, propellers have to wait.


Northern Shade said...

I've done quite a few propeller rounds already this spring, but of course there an amazing number of seeds that escape my notice until they start to sprout. My maple is positive that I should be living in a maple forest. A few thick plantings seem to suppress them well, like the Brunnera.

Stacy said...

Maples are persistent aren't they? Thanks for the tip on the Brunnera. I'm going to make sure I get more of them planted in the worst of the propeller zones.