Having trees that love to create seeds may be great if you are a squirrel, but if you are a human who does not like to have your grass smothered by acorns or deluged with elm seeds, then the battle lines are drawn.
Such was the case in the fall. During this time, we used the wet/dry vac to collect much of the squirrel food. After many tubs of acorns and stray yard materials were sucked up into the “tub of judgement”, I felt pretty comfortable the yard had been insulated, as best as I was able, from the potential saplings that could result. The little elm seeds are less able to be quickly eradicated. They are much more insidious that the obvious acorn. They nestle into the mulch. They congregate in the gutters to be tossed randomly into whatever part of the yard will embrace them as the gutters are cleared again for water flow. The elm seeds partner with the wind so they are not limited to developing friendships in just our yard.
Enter the spring…
Despite all of my efforts, the “weeds” are still coming in with no mercy. What is a weed? It is something that grows somewhere it is not supposed to grow. Weed mat installed in the flower beds did not prevent the elm seeds from germinating. I sacrificed many of the occupants of a future forest as they sprung up in my mulched beds. I pulled many a baby oak from the yard–the mother acorn providing the tail to the oak baby. As I make my rounds doing my dead heading of geraniums, I see new elm sprouts. While walking the yard to see the colors of the flowers, I will see a few more acorns attempting to extend their lives while being somewhat camouflaged by the St Augustine grass.
While this time of pulling weeds will pass and focus will shift to making sure the yard and plants receive enough water to stay vibrant, the ambitious seeds of this spring are a reminder of potential life anxious to be truly born. I do wince a bit when I grab hold of the stems and remove the plant from the life-giving soil. I wince even more when I imagine my yard without someone overseeing it. And, while calling me a tree slayer may sound a little extreme, I pale in comparison to lumberjacks.