The Japanese Maple Takedown

The Japanese maple is not listed as an invasive in Connecticut. However, I have seen many garden escapees on walks, and I have spied it along the brush-and-tree border between my neighbors’ property and mine. My mentor, a Master Gardener who specializes in identifying and removing invasives, believes they have become invasive. I believe that they are poised to become invasive as climate change occurs.

Japanese maple trying to hide behind a Tulip tree sapling. Notice there’s a second little one in the foreground.
There are three additional Japanese maple saplings on the hill. None of these were purposely planted. The blush of pink the lower left is winged euonymous, another invasive.

Here’s that funny photo with me making faces again, where you only see part of the JM.

The Japanese maple, while pretty, is escaping gardens, and also shading my house and creating the environment for mildew and rot.

Why should I, or you, care?

Simply, the Japanese maple does not support our native pollinators, bird life, nor does it feed any mammals, reptiles, or amphibians. When native plants are displaced by nonnatives who do not provide the necessary fuel for our ecosystem, we lose out on ecosystem services. We lose out on the heritage of native forests.

Japanese maples are beautiful. I won’t deny that. Yet, I think I can add interest and beauty to the garden without risking the ecosystem services I have come to cherish.

So, here are my victorious photos of the Japanese Maple Takedown:

A good start.
Now, it’s like a piece of art.
Death to the Japanese maple!

They came back and cut the stump. The next thing that happened was I planted a sweet little serviceberry.

Here’s a link to further discussion on the potential for Japanese maples to invade:

Japanese maple found spreading in an understory of a park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2011.


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