News Flash

Wright County News

Posted on: June 8, 2021

U of M Extension Explains Why We're Seeing So Many Maple Helicopters This Year

By Kylee Sherod, University of Minnesota Extension Intern, Wright County

Many Minnesotans have reported seeing abundant amounts of maple helicopter seeds this year. When the seed or fruit of long-lived trees are seen in copious amounts, similar to current reports, this is known as a mast year, or masting, for that tree.

Seed production occurs every year in varying amounts. However, research on masting indicates the phenomenon appears every two to five years. Additionally, a mast year may be stimulated by ideal pollination conditions or environmental cues like moisture and temperature. 

Signs of masting include witnessing large amounts of fallen floral parts followed by the seeds a few weeks later. The flowers are typically a shade of red (red and silver maples) or yellow-green (Norway and sugar maples) and appear before the leaves emerge. The fruit, commonly known as a helicopter, is actually a winged nutlet called a samara. Samaras are typically one to two inches in length and are initially red or green color, maturing into a light brown. 

Masting provides animals like squirrels and birds to abundantly feed on the small fruits. The addition of many seeds may also keep the genes of the tree alive within the environment. 

The seeds are carried by wind. Therefore gardens, lawns, sidewalk cracks and even gutters may provide habitat for a seedling to grow. For gardeners with maple trees nearby, this may result in more weed pulling. With some trees, like sugar maples, a mast year will initiate low sap production the following year. 

On the tree, a mast year may initially stunt the growth of leaves. This is because energy was shifted to supporting heavy seed production. It may make the tree look unhealthy initially, but now that the seeds are dropping or have dropped, the tree should begin exchanging energy back into the leaves.

A distress crop may be mistaken as masting. When a tree produces a stress crop, it is putting all of its energy into seeds to create the next generation. A tree may do this if it is experiencing stressful growing conditions. 

To examine a tree for distress, look for stem girdling. This is when roots around the trunk squeeze and compress the correct flow of water, nutrients and sap of the tree. Other issues can come about from poor soil conditions or trunk damage. To minimize environmental stress, it is important to keep trees watered during drought.  

Though there are no methods to prevent masting, there are things to do with the abundance of seeds. Consider starting a journal to track your trees’ masting.

For more information regarding tree masting, please visit extension.umn.edu and search “mast.” Wright County residents can call 763-682-7394 for questions related to tree health or other related yard & garden items.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Wright County News

Jury Impaneled in Ulrich Case

Posted on: May 20, 2022

No Mow May Has Begun

Posted on: May 2, 2022

Earth Day Hike Postponed One Week

Posted on: April 21, 2022

License Center Drive-Thru Now Open

Posted on: April 15, 2022

2022 Candidate Filing Opens May 17

Posted on: April 5, 2022

License Center Accepting Appointments

Posted on: March 31, 2022

HHS Now Open in New Government Center

Posted on: March 23, 2022

2022 Township Election Results

Posted on: March 11, 2022

Township Day Coming Tomorrow

Posted on: March 7, 2022

DNR Has EagleCam Up and Running

Posted on: February 23, 2022

CMRP Offering Placemaking Microgrants

Posted on: February 1, 2022

Buffalo Strong Day Coming Feb. 9

Posted on: January 31, 2022

County Launches Redesigned Website

Posted on: January 20, 2022
wc_logo_circle

MnDOT Reopens I-94 in Albertville

Posted on: January 20, 2022

Husom Named County Board Chair for 2022

Posted on: January 5, 2022

All County Offices Closed Friday, Dec. 24

Posted on: December 23, 2021

DNR Issues Guidelines for Being Out on Ice

Posted on: December 22, 2021

Passport Fee to Raise by $20 Next Week

Posted on: December 21, 2021

Unprecedented Weather Day Expected Today

Posted on: December 15, 2021

Random Drug Testing Request for Proposals

Posted on: December 14, 2021

Deadline to File for Homestead Approaching

Posted on: November 23, 2021

MnDOT Provides Update on I-94 Construction

Posted on: November 16, 2021

Santa Coming to Bertram Park Dec. 4

Posted on: November 3, 2021

License Center Camera System Down

Posted on: November 3, 2021

DNR Releases Updated Fall Color Map

Posted on: October 1, 2021

County Board Approves 2022 Preliminary Levy

Posted on: September 28, 2021

Second Half Property Taxes Due Oct. 15

Posted on: September 22, 2021

DPS Labor Day DWI Campaign a Success

Posted on: September 15, 2021

Public Health Releases COVID-19 Dashboard

Posted on: September 7, 2021

Extension Provides Crop Update

Posted on: August 23, 2021

DNR Releases 2021 Waterfowl Handbook

Posted on: August 10, 2021

MPCA Declares Air Quality Alert

Posted on: July 29, 2021

Veterans Career Fair Tomorrow

Posted on: July 28, 2021

Wright County Has Job Openings

Posted on: July 23, 2021

WCEDP Has Redesigned Website

Posted on: July 9, 2021

WOW Van in Monticello Today

Posted on: July 1, 2021

WOW Van Coming to Monticello July 1

Posted on: June 23, 2021

Wright County Fair Schedule Released

Posted on: June 21, 2021

Highway 30 Project Delayed

Posted on: June 1, 2021