Norway Maple: A Conversation On Their Invasive Qualities And Its Impact On Neighborhood Development.
Although its completely smoothed over, I started a
minor hula-ba-loo by recommending in a design to remove a tree - a Norway Maple - that split between two yards. It was completely inside our yard but certainly had an impact on the present landscape space of the neighbor. Last Friday, when we were doing an on site meet about the tree work, we peaked over the fence to mention we would
like to clear some furniture when we do the removal. And while the neighbor was completly upbeat and supportive about the work we were doing, I had a sense (I saw the tear in her eye) that they were
less than excited about the tree's removal.
While I believe and am happy that in the short term both yards will be better because of the canopy of the tree I must admit a certain predjudice or way of thinking about Norway Maples which led to my immediate and narrow consideration that it should be removed.
This Norway Maple in question I immediately targeted for removal based on how I view the tree. I don't view it with a romanticism for trees in themselves. I see it for what it does. The species freely seeds itself and in unmanaged areas will freely grow into a mature tree. Fine. But, this tree develops a very dense canopy making the ground below completely free of light. Further, the intense roots heavily draw resourses from the soil below. What this tree species causes is the most intense "dry shade," which is near impossible to grow turfgrass and all but a few ornamental plants in.
Norway Maples essentially fully take control of a space or ecological niche and come to dominate the spaces we are trying to occupy with our way of
life. And so my thinking with this specific Norway Maple is "lets get it out of here while it only costs $450 and before it costs $3000." Remove them before they become too big and costly to manage.
And so I bring up this word "invasive" as we, a
NYS wide community, come eventually to recognize species such as Norway Maple and ban it from commerce - the Norway Maple, as the name suggests, is and exotic species not a native one. And the Norway Maple has been a conversation for at least a couple decades.
In Buffalo, and I assume in other cities similar, trees - as shown in the images above - seed themselves into "border areas and fencelines" and areas that are not heavily managed by mowing or other practices. And as, if I may suggest, we are beginning to manage more and more neighborhood space with intensity because of an expansion in a certain kind of neighborhood occupation, these "border weeds" are a significant impediment to that movement.
Now - certainly other trees freely seed themselves into these border spaces - Boxelder shows in the picture above - but these are "natives."
Where I'm bringing this is the past defense of Norway Maples as "non-invasive." At the end of the day, I don't see "nature" as a static and unchanging so the conversation on natives is a little different for me. But, it is the arguement that supports the Norway Maple that I may take issue with. The arguement I have always heard was "Norway Maples do not take over existing native woodland spaces." Fair.
But, they are taking over this neighborhood's space without human control and intervention. And so, I think the Norway Maple is an invasive species, only the "concern" of some over "invasive species" only concerns itself with a certain romantic idea of nature and shows prejudice towards an urban eco-niche.
Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture