Intruder Identification: Manitoba Maple

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Not all trees are welcomed in our backyards, and I’m sure you’ve seen a flimsy Maple-looking plant popping up somewhere in your garden. This funny little guy is called a Boxelder Maple, or a Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo). Though native and thrives in our Ontario temperate zone, this invasive species of Maple is actually considered a weed by definition.

This fast-growing deciduous tree has become a nuisance in Ontario, and some regions have reported issues with the trees easily falling over due to their short lives and quick growth causing weaker trunks. When these trees collapse, heavy damage can happen causing quite a bit of property & injury risk, and financial burden.

The Manitoba Maple lives up to 60 years in perfect environments, however compared to other species of Maple (Acer saccharum living up to 300-400 years), this short lived Maple is poised to cause damage much sooner than it’s hardy cousins.

There is one exception, however. According to CBC, in the prairies, there are Maple syrup producers that favour the Manitoba Maple for production of “oh so sweet” syrup. It’s something you don’t see too often in stores as the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) is famous for the sweet Canadian Export.

A compilation of 4 images showing the bark, fruit, leaves, and full profile of the Manitoba Maple
Image Credits: Bark – Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Fruit – Sean Fox, University of Guelph, Leaf – Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Tree – Public domain (USDA)

How to properly remove a Manitoba Maple effectively without the use of herbicides:

It’s all about removing the roots from the soil so that the tree is absolutely gone from roots to canopy. With a shovel, safety glasses, steel-toed boots, hatchet, and gloves you’ll have that ‘sucker’ out in no time.

Here’s what Home Guides says about removing the Manitoba Maple:

1) Remove any newly formed sprouts from the trunk as they appear. Strike the sprouts vigorously at their base using a hatchet and dispose of them (according to your local city bi-laws). Maple stumps contain many dormant buds that sprout during the spring and summer. Each Maple stump may require sprout removal several times throughout the year.

2) (Remove) the topsoil around the base of the stump using the shovel… Work around the base of the Maple stump until the main roots extending outward from the trunk are exposed.

3) Sever the main roots leading away from the stump with the cutting edge of the shovel. Work around the edge of the stump until the main roots are severed. Replace the (soil) you removed from around the stump.

If you need a little help identifying your trees, or are looking for some more advice, reach out to us here at UTS. We’re always pleased to offer our two cents on your garden!

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