Silver Linings and Silver Maples

One sometimes hears the quote from T.S. Eliot, "April is the cruelest month...." By this a Minnesotan would think he is describing how April disappoints our expectation of spring. But the rest of the quote goes "...breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain."

I have to say, if "stirring dull roots with spring rain" qualifies for cruelty, then T.S. Eliot has not experienced April snow storms like the ones we are having this year.  

But there is a silver lining to all this, and that is the Silver Maple tree, the first deciduous tree in our parts to bud. Ours here on the farm have been budding since before Easter, but I only got to photographing them yesterday, April 4.

 I wish I could have photographed this Silver Maple with all the snow around it, but I had to look pretty much straight up to capture the buds on this tree on the edge of St. Joseph.

I wish I could have photographed this Silver Maple with all the snow around it, but I had to look pretty much straight up to capture the buds on this tree on the edge of St. Joseph.

Sorry to say, for those who know trees, the Silver Maple is not desirable for landscape use. It generates large, shallow roots, making it difficult to mow around, and it puts out many seeds. Due to poor pruning or lack of pruning, one sees many Silver Maples that are deformed in such a way that their limbs will come off in a high wind. They have been overused in residential developments due to their fast growth. And they get very large, making it all the more important that they be pruned to have structural strength, or removed before they get too big to easily remove. Their hybridized half-sister or brother, the Autumn Blaze Maple, is a cross between a Silver Maple and a Red Maple, and continues to be a very popular choice of tree for residential landscapes. 

Silver Maples are at their best in their natural habitat--along the banks of creeks and rivers where their shallow roots allow them to survive in wet conditions. In a way, they are our version of the Mangrove tree, doing well in the wettest of conditions.

 Courtesy of  Illinois WildFlowers       

Courtesy of Illinois WildFlowers