Tips to Clean Up Maple Tree Helicopters

Silver Maple Trees: It’s a Love-Hate Relationship

Silver Maple.  It sounds like such a beautiful name for a tree, unless of course you’re already familiar with the silver maple.  It grows into a gigantic tree, often times splitting into 4-5 full size trees.  As far as the maple tree part, well that only means one thing: helicopters.  Yes, this is the way that a maple tree reproduces:  the maple tree helicopters fall off the tree in an effort to seed and grow more trees.

Helicopters from Silver Maple Tree

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Cleaning up maple tree helicopters from the lawn

If they fall on the grass, simply mow them.  I prefer to use the bag to capture the helicopters and their seeds.  If you mulch your grass clippings, this is fine too.  Full, thick lawns do not usually allow maple trees to sprout.

Preventing trees in gardens and in landscaping mulch

If you use a weed preventer, like Preen, early enough in the season, the helicopter seeds will not sprout.  You may want to clean them up, since they will look messy, and stick around until they decompose.

Removing helicopters from sidewalks, driveways, and patios

Take your pick for clean-up.

    • Sweep and clean up with a dust pan
    • Blow them into a pile, and suck up with a leaf mulcher.

You can use a blower like this one: Black & Decker High Performance Blower which is also helpful around the yard when you need to blow or mulch your leaves.

Although the helicopters will eventually decay, you really want to clean up any that are near the foundation of your home.  Helicopters are really seeds from a maple tree, and critters such as mice and chipmunks feed off of these seeds.  By removing the food source, you can keep the critters away.

Handling maple tree helicopters in pools

I’ve tried everything.  No matter what, when helicopters fall in your pool, it’s a lot of work.  We like to open the pool early in the season, which means that the helicopters fall when our pool is open.  Try these tips:

  • Skim the surface of your pool often
  • Run the filter longer
  • Vacuum a few times a week to pick up all helicopters

I’ve also tried keeping the solar cover on the pool, especially on the windy days.  This works great, as long as you roll the cover back and scoop up the helicopters before it rains.  We use a Pool Skimmer Leaf Net for this job.  Just be sure to do it before the rain.  Once it rains, the helicopters get very heavy, and will stick to your solar cover.  It’s not a pretty sight.  Trust me, I speak from experience.

The final alternative is to keep your pool covered until helicopter season is over.  I know several people who do this, and I certainly understand why.  However, it still requires similar maintenance.  You’ll need to scoop the helicopters off of your pool cover.  If it’s wet, they can get heavy to lift.  If it’s dry, you can take a leaf blower to remove them.

The best solution is not to put your pool anywhere near a silver maple tree.  We didn’t have a choice.  We also try to keep the limbs on our side of the property trimmed back so they are not a danger to our house or pool.  Did you catch that?  Yes, that’s right; the silver maple is not on our property.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love trees.

  • Trees that are not on my property
  • Trees whose limbs will not fall on my shed, garage or house
  • Trees that don’t produce 1 million helicopters

Seriously, there are a few reasons to love the silver maple tree.  On a hot summer day, the silver maple provides us with a few hours of shade.  It also drinks plenty of ground water, thereby reducing the chance of water entering our basement.

Our advice: Whatever method you select, just be sure to clean up the helicopters.  Any left behind will be sure to sprout.  Just what the world needs: more silver maple trees. 🙂

Here are a few other articles you may enjoy:

Don’t like weeds? Act now to prevent weeds from growing

Pool Cleaning Checklist

Tips on How to Drain Water from a Pool Cover

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