In late September, Maple Leaves Forever spent several days travelling throughout the Niagara Region and parts of southwestern Ontario with a field representative of Forests Ontario. The objective was to find and map locations where native tree seed could be collected and to share this information with a network of seed collectors.
Many of the sites that had been mapped for seed collecting earlier in the summer were found to be devoid of seed. Much of the immature seed that we observed developing on the trees in early August was gone. The ground under many red oak trees was covered with infertile, small acorns that were aborted during the heat and drought of summer – a reaction to the tree’s will to survive. The few acorns that matured on the trees were either damaged by acorn weevils or were being consumed by squirrels. Not good news for our seed collectors.
We confirmed good collection sites for black cherry, burr and swamp white oak, but reported white oak as being in very limited supply – similar to red oak. Bitternut hickory was promising but shagbark hickory was going to be hard to find. Black walnut was collectible on several sites. In other places there were only a few or no seed (walnuts) under the trees. The walnuts were smaller than normal because of the drought the trees experienced.
We mapped collection sites for several Carolinian species – tulip tree, sycamore, sweet gum, flowering dogwood to name a few. We searched harder to find Hackberry.
We found several good sites for collecting sugar maple. Evidence of a partial seed abort could be seen under several trees but we were confident that there would be a good supply of sugar maple seed for our nursery friends. We were encouraged to see mature sugar maple seed hiding amongst the leaves throughout the Comfort Maple that grows in a parkette at Pelham.
In the Niagara region, we found several large black maple trees laden with seed. There was a sprinkling of mature seed under some trees. We spent the last few hours of daylight collecting this seed and returned in the morning to collect some more.
Maple Leaves Forever donated this black maple seed to one of our Nursery Partners, confident in our belief that there would be several thousand black maple liners to add to the maple inventories a few years hence.
Photos property of Maple Leaves Forever
Written by Carl Mansfield, Arboreal Consultant, Maple Leaves Forever with sincere thanks to our friend from Forests Ontario
Layout by Mary Bella, Webmaster & Communications, Maple Leaves Forever