Why are those people destroying those trees?

There is a small crew working this Spring to remove Norway Maples from a corner of the Arboretum. They are doing this in accordance with the Arboretum master plan, which has as a major goal to "encourage forest succession by controlling non-native invasive species".

What are invasive plants?

Invasive plants are non-native organisms that have, or are likely to, spread into native or minimally managed plant systems and cause economic or environmental harm by developing self-sustaining populations and becoming dominant or disruptive to those systems.

Where Do Invasive Plants Come From?

Invasive plants are disruptive because they show up without natural enemies or competitors. This is usually because they been transported far from their natural homes by the actions of humans, either accidentally or deliberately. When plants move on their own – via wind dispersal or other natural means of propagation – the plants and animals that eat them, or otherwise control their spread, have time to travel with them. It's when plants are suddenly carried from one continent to another that problems of invasion typically occur.

The same qualities that make species invasive – hardy, early and fast growth, able to grow in multiple habitats, copious and highly viable seed production and dispersal – also make them popular with gardeners and landscape professionals.

What's so bad about Norway Maples?

Norway Maple trees produce large numbers of seeds that are wind dispersed and invade forests and forest edges. The dense canopy formed by Norway maple inhibits the regeneration of sugar maple and other tree seedlings, reducing forest diversity. Also, since Norway maple has shallow roots, it competes with other plants in the landscape, including grasses. They leaf out  much earlier than the other maples, and last longer into the Fall. There's nothing wrong with Norway Maple if it is the only maple you want in the forest - but the arboretum wants to preserve its many other maples - Sugar, Silver, Red, and more.

What will the crew be doing?

The crew will remove the smaller Norway maple seedlings and saplings by pulling them out - by hand, or with tools. Larger Norway Maples will be cut down, and then treated with a short-lived herbicode by certified town staff. In subsequent years, more cutting and pulling will be needed. If there are any very large Norway Maples, we will put some herbicide inside the bark,rather than cut them down. That will reduce the labor of removing the trees from the forest, and will allow for some standing deadwood which is good for many insects and birds.

What if I have questions, or concerns, or I want to help out?

For more information please contact Jim Snyder-Grant or Tom Tidman:

Jim Snyder-Grant Tom Tidman
Acton Land Stewardship Committee Acton Director of Natural Resources
978 266-9409 978 964-2631
jimsg 'at' newview 'dot' org ttidman 'at' town 'dot' acton 'dot' ma 'dot' us