Our street was - when we moved in in 1994 - lined with what I now know are Noway maples. They must have been planted by the town; they're in the no man's land between the sidewalk and the street. They don't make suckers, but their seeds (those cute little winged things) have a 150% germination rate. I think those little seedlings, rather than dandelions or crabgrass, are what everyone else on the street is trying to kill with their 'lawn programs' involving who knows what chemicals. We can't afford a ''lawn program' and don't really want one; instead we pull the little imps wherever we see them sprouting - between day lilies, between paving stones, and of course, in what's left of the lawn after being turned into a garden. Oh, did I mention the seedlings in my new perennial beds?
I'm not sure why the town has these planted on every street in my town. They aren't sugar maples, which are the prettiest.brilliant fall red. They are a good shade tree and are able to grow quickly in urban areas. For all the reasons listed above (shallow roots, top heavy) they are also terrific at falling down in high winds or cracking!
Our house is one of the few left on our street with a stately, dense Norway maple shading more and more of the garden each year. All the others have either fallen down or cracked down the middle. We also have a volunteer in the back yard. It was 5 feet tall when we moved in. By the time we knew what it was it was 15 ft., by the time all the other trees started falling over and it was revealed as EVIL, it was 30 ft tall.
Last summer I saw a crew planting new little trees in the holes left by deceased Noway maples. Gee, maybe we can sell them some of our seedlings, I thought. They told me that it was no longer town policy to plant these maples, that in fact they had been sent back to rip out maples previously planted! I raced inside to look them up, and sure enough, the Norway maple is just now listed as an invasive species in Massachusetts. I don't know what they planted instead; I haven't gotten close enough to try to tell from the leaves. BUT THEY'RE NOT NORWAY MAPLES!!!
Please check out invasive species listings and do what you can to avoid another Norway maple, Bradford pear or other nasty tree. I'd post a picture of the split tree up the street but I'm on the wrong computer.
I hear you with the Norway Maple. There are so many trees that are thugs.. So just because we find a "good deal" or think they are "pretty" isn't enough, is it? We learned a profound lesson with this particular species. A lesson that will have us checking and double checking everything we plant now. I was hoping to save as many folks as possible from finding themselves in the same spot you and I have found the hard way.
You have now brought out some more species to be aware of, and I really appreciate it, and I hope we help others to have a more enduring enjoyable garden by bringing out this info.
Oh, don't thank me, I just like to complain more loudly than just to my poor husband! The thing I feel worst about is I traded some of my plentiful maple seedlings to another DG member for some daylilies... now I'm a thug spreader!
I suppose the "town" will have to foot the bill for the maintenance they will require and eventually cut the split trees down. (Guessing that will come out of the tax money. :-/) The people who are hit the hardest are individual homeowners who end up having to pay for all that out of one or two pockets.