Acer saccharinum

| 25 Comments
IMG_3016MapleStump_600.JPG

Acer saccharinum – silver maple, Evergreen Avenue, Boulder, Colorado. This tree was probably about 75 years old, judging by the age of the neighborhood. The major (outside) diameter of the stump is approximately 140 cm.

25 Comments

Why was the tree hollow? I doubt it was termites, but if it was that’s freaking cool.

Sorry, I should have said that. A neighbor who saw me taking the pictures said it was indeed termites. He pointed to some fluting, which you cannot see with this resolution, and said it indicated termites. I was surprised to learn that we had termites this far north, though I understand that they are moving north. Maybe some reader can elaborate.

I had just such a large Silver Maple come down on my house about 10 years ago. It too was hollow from ants and termites. Most of the damage was in the trunk but not in the four large branches splaying immediately upward from the trunk. Wind brought down the tree, but it was already hollow and structurally weakened. It was also about 70 years old at the time.

Curiously, such a tree can still stand for many years after it is hollowed out, as long as it continues to get nutrients through its outer parts. The hollowing makes the strength-to-weight ratio of the tree greater as long as it remains essentially a “tube,” and if there isn’t too much leverage stress from the weight of solid branches coming off the trunk. That wasn’t the case with my tree; but there are other trees around here that appear to be hollow almost throughout.

There many are more such trees in the yards of my neighbors; all of them showing signs of needing to be brought down. My next door neighbor took down a big Silver Maple in his yard on the advice of someone who was supposed to be a tree expert. The tree turned out to be solid all the way through. Bad decision :-(

Around here, these kinds of Maple are often referred to as “weed” trees. The hard Sugar Maples are much preferred.

^^^What Mike said. These are terrible trees to plant along city streets, near houses, as we have done here in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Very shallow roots make them blow down too easily, as happened all over town in the derecho event that took out power for 3+ days last summer.

They are like Sarah Palin – admittedly rather attractive on the outside, and utterly hollow at the core.

Maybe somebody who knows even more can explain why the species name is so deceptively similar to Acer saccharum – the maple surple tree!

For Americans, that diameter is about 4 1/2 feet.

The branches breaking in ice and/or wind storms is probably the greatest threat posed by silver maples, if you let them overhang your house. That’s the main reason I got rid of all of the silver maples that the previous owner none-too-intelligently planted on the property, although they were getting too big for the house anyhow, aesthetically.

I can’t think of many properties that really should have silver maples, since they grow so very large. They do look all right on many college/university campuses, with their big buildings, and can be reasonably safe so long as they’re not too close to buildings. There’s still just the problem of weak, fairly disease-prone trees, however, so they’re likely to have to be severely pruned or removed after storms.

Glen Davidson

There are hollow redwood trees in a nearby state park (Big Basin) large enough to have a party in - see http://www.outdooradventureclub.com[…]g-basin.html

O M G Do you all not see the image of the face of Jesus? call the faithfull and the media.

Since the thread topic here is dead trees, here is a sad note: The world’s largest Plains Cottonwood has recently died. The tree is still standing and located near Niwot, Colorado - we visited it several times on our way home from Estes Park. This past summer the big tree was not looking good. Here is the news article at the Longmont Times-Call:

Boulder County’s national champion plains cottonwood tree has died

By John Fryar Longmont Times-Call

Posted: 08/04/2012 05:32:44 PM MDT

http://www.timescall.com/news/longm[…]ood-tree-has

Bummer. I liked that tree.

I have a cottonwood stump in my back yard about 2-3 feet in diameter, cut off near the ground. Does anyone know a natural way to make it rot, or shall I rent a stump grinder? I have tried: milk, fertilizer, water, drilling holes in the top, snow, importing ants from another stump, compost, and planting grass seed in the holes I drilled. The grass is growing. Maybe the kids can get a science project out of this?

Ooops! There is a bigger Plains Cottonwood (and still alive!) in New Zealand:

http://register.notabletrees.org.nz/tree/view/210

My cottonwood stump was already rotting from the middle, too.

Carl, burn it. great fun. if you have any bacon grease (like, who doesn’t) you can heat it up and pour it all on the stump, set it on fire. i burned a maple stump this way, smouldered for a week.

Dynamite it! Hee hee!

Mike Elzinga said:

Dynamite it! Hee hee!

Mike, you sound like a man who would have appreciated the humour of the late great Blaster Bates. The story you bring to mind is The naming of Knicker Brook, but I would particularly recommend the story of the “Shower of shit over Cheshire”

Mike Elzinga said:

Dynamite it! Hee hee!

Wile E Coyote moment coming up!

Most hardware/home improvement/garden supply stores carry some version of Stump Remover. It’s potassium nitrate. Drill a bunch of holes and fill ‘em with the product. It’ll take maybe 6 months to a year for a big stump.

Alternatively, 1/2 pound Goex black powder works just fine used the same way. Of course it isn’t as much fun as setting it off - but don’t forget that Adam and Jamie are professionals.

fusilier James 2:24

Dave Lovell said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Dynamite it! Hee hee!

Mike, you sound like a man who would have appreciated the humour of the late great Blaster Bates. The story you bring to mind is The naming of Knicker Brook, but I would particularly recommend the story of the “Shower of shit over Cheshire”

:-)

Wonderful story teller, Dave! Thanks.

Mike Elzinga said:

Dave Lovell said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Dynamite it! Hee hee!

Mike, you sound like a man who would have appreciated the humour of the late great Blaster Bates. The story you bring to mind is The naming of Knicker Brook, but I would particularly recommend the story of the “Shower of shit over Cheshire”

:-)

Wonderful story teller, Dave! Thanks.

He was indeed, and brilliant as a live performer too. He had of course a wealth of experience from less risk averse times to build his stories on. Another man I think you would have appreciated was Chemistry Prof.Col B.D. Shaw, but sadly I don’t think there are any significant recordings of his lecture. I was fortunate to see him in the Seventies when he was probably pushing eighty himself. The sight of the Lecture Theatre crammed to two or three times its normal capacity would have given a modern day health and safety man a heart attack even if he had been lecturing on Origami rather than demonstrating explosives in ways such a firing a tallow candle from a muzzle loading musket through a simulated barn door.

I particularly remember his demonstration of the importance of a good oxidiser. Having shown the flammability of a sizeable piece of cotton wool by lighting it on the bench in front of him, he announced he would repeat the experiment with a similar sized piece previously soaked in liquid oxygen. Two volunteers were taken from the audience and given fire extinguishers. They were briefed to aim them at the base of the fire the instant he ignited it (to put out what subsequently proved to be a twenty foot pillar of flame before it burnt through the ceiling!) Already wearing a pull-down wrap-around visor, he offered the spare one resting on the bench to one of the volunteers. When the other one looked understandably worried, he generously offered him his own. Then with perfect comic timing he worried the two of them by bending down and recovering from under the bench the sort of reflective head and shoulders hood normally worn to put out oil-well fires. Tell that to the kids today and they won’t believe you!

Dave Lovell said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Dave Lovell said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Dynamite it! Hee hee!

Mike, you sound like a man who would have appreciated the humour of the late great Blaster Bates. The story you bring to mind is The naming of Knicker Brook, but I would particularly recommend the story of the “Shower of shit over Cheshire”

:-)

Wonderful story teller, Dave! Thanks.

He was indeed, and brilliant as a live performer too. He had of course a wealth of experience from less risk averse times to build his stories on. Another man I think you would have appreciated was Chemistry Prof.Col B.D. Shaw, but sadly I don’t think there are any significant recordings of his lecture. I was fortunate to see him in the Seventies when he was probably pushing eighty himself. The sight of the Lecture Theatre crammed to two or three times its normal capacity would have given a modern day health and safety man a heart attack even if he had been lecturing on Origami rather than demonstrating explosives in ways such a firing a tallow candle from a muzzle loading musket through a simulated barn door.

I particularly remember his demonstration of the importance of a good oxidiser. Having shown the flammability of a sizeable piece of cotton wool by lighting it on the bench in front of him, he announced he would repeat the experiment with a similar sized piece previously soaked in liquid oxygen. Two volunteers were taken from the audience and given fire extinguishers. They were briefed to aim them at the base of the fire the instant he ignited it (to put out what subsequently proved to be a twenty foot pillar of flame before it burnt through the ceiling!) Already wearing a pull-down wrap-around visor, he offered the spare one resting on the bench to one of the volunteers. When the other one looked understandably worried, he generously offered him his own. Then with perfect comic timing he worried the two of them by bending down and recovering from under the bench the sort of reflective head and shoulders hood normally worn to put out oil-well fires. Tell that to the kids today and they won’t believe you!

Yea but did he burn a cross into anyones arm?

I hate to interrupt the “blowing stuff up” thread, but I wanted to comment on the Silver Maples.

Horticulturists definitely consider them weed trees like Mike said. The main reason they have problems–damage from winds, short lives, etc. is that they grow very quickly. Quick growth results in weak wood. I’d say 75 is quite elderly for a silver maple. People pay the price of quick shade and low price (silver maples are cheap because they attain size fast) in later years when the tree breaks up (of course it is usually a new homeowner who has to pay!). As a landscape designer, I rarely recommend them or their hybrids.

Maybe somebody who knows even more can explain why the species name is so deceptively similar to Acer saccharum – the maple surple tree!

Not sure, but, like probably all maples, it can also produce maple syrup, although it’s said that the syrup season is shorter, there’s less sugar in the sap, and some claim that the syrup is more likely to be cloudy. Box elder (a maple, or at least in the maple genus) syrup isn’t all that bad, I can say from making it–probably suffers by comparison to good maple syrup, however.

Glen Davidson

fusilier said:

Most hardware/home improvement/garden supply stores carry some version of Stump Remover. It’s potassium nitrate. Drill a bunch of holes and fill ‘em with the product. It’ll take maybe 6 months to a year for a big stump.

I planted an Autumn Blaze Maple a couple of feet from the cottonwood stump. Since I’m impatient, I have been driving in tree spikes next to the maple 2x per year and it’s grown quite well over two years. One person can sit in the shade and read. Question: Will the potassium nitrate harm the new tree?

Alternatively, 1/2 pound Goex black powder works just fine used the same way. Of course it isn’t as much fun as setting it off - but don’t forget that Adam and Jamie are professionals.

Like all right-thinking Panda’s Thumb readers, I heartily approve of Better Landscaping Through Explosives. But I don’t think my neighbors would understand. :-(

Why not? They could have a blast!

Why not? They could have a blast!

Question: Will the potassium nitrate harm the new tree?

Basically it’s just fertilizer, which is presumably what helps the rotting process.

So unless somehow enough got onto the new tree to burn it, it can’t hurt anything. Used properly, it won’t even fertilize the new tree much.

Glen Davidson

Mike Elzinga said:

Around here, these kinds of Maple are often referred to as “weed” trees. The hard Sugar Maples are much preferred.

Impatient people love to plant silver maples, they grow to a reasonable height far faster than hard maples. I have no idea how many are planted by developers who can buy silver maples that are, say, 12’ to 15’ tall for the price of a sugar maple that is half that tall. Honey locusts are another tree that grows quickly and causes problems.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on December 3, 2012 12:00 PM.

A Reply to Robert Asher was the previous entry in this blog.

Carnival of Evolution #54 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.38

Site Meter