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Kentucky Color: Water Maple

Water Maple is one of the earliest blooming trees and what about that color?
For next earlier Kentucky Color, see Kentucky Color: Mistletoe on Black Cherry

By Billy Joe Fudge
Retired District Forester, Kentucky Division of Forestry

It is certainly the earliest blooming Maple. You probably see Water Maple flowers often during warm days in late winter but from a distance they only give a reddish pink hue to the tree's leafless crown.

Water Maple seed start growing within a day or two of pollination. This early flowering and seed development can be a very valuable food source for squirrels which during long hard winters can have exploited all their food resources from the previous growing season.

When the seed matures, the helicopters will be whirlybirding all over the place by late spring and early summer.

The seed are a little unusual in that they can germinate immediately upon contact with the soil. They also seem to have a homing gene which directs them right into mulched areas where they germinate at lightning speed, and homeowners who don't clean their gutters every couple of weeks can have Water Maple seedlings peeking over the edge by July.

This story was posted on 2010-03-12 02:54:52
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Kentucky Color: Water Maple Buds

2010-03-12 - Adair Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge. Water maples develop color in late winter and early spring. These buds will soon develop seeds which helicopter to the ground, where, Billy Joe Fudge says, they can germinate within a couple of days of touching the soil.
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