Saturday, May 05, 2012

Silver Maple Trees Hate the Human Race

After five hours of yard work, my fingertips tingle as I type. The worst part of the work? My Silver Maple tree. Do you have one? You thought about planting one? Don't. Run away from that thought. Run screaming. Don't ever look back at the maple tree.

You want to know why?

It hates you.

I think M. Night Shyamalan wrote "The Happening" as a hate letter to his Silver Maples. In that movie, the trees somehow make people crazy and start killing themselves. That's what Silver Maples want of the human race.

If you're not familiar with the Silver Maple, you'll know what they are because they spawn these whirly-gigs. If you don't have any in your yard, more-likely-than-not your neighbor does, and those little, tan whirly-gigs twirl drunkenly into your yard. You hate them. They hate you. And if they don't get picked up in time, they start to grow trees.

I am forever pulling up Silver Maple Mini-Me's.

The only good these whirly-gigs have done is inspire Leonardo Da Vinci to doodle one of the first thought-up helicopters.

They drop their helicopter-like seedlings all over my yard by the million, making sure they mash up inside my gutters and dig themselves down deep in the grass. No matter how many times I mow, they don't get sucked up and spat out. One Silver Maple grows and unleashes a grand total of 1 bajillion seedlings each spring, but think about the havoc I must live through with two of these trees. It's a wonder I don't have a forest for a back yard.

It's pointless to try and clean them all up until they've all fallen. Each spring, usually the first part of May, I will climb onto the roof to dig my hands into the gutters and tear out the mosh pit of whirly-gigs. At this point in time, we've had many-a-storm and hard rains. That rain water still stands in the gutter, feeding the seedlings. By doing so, many have started to sprout, granting me the gift of tiny little trees growing in my gutter.

I should plant them in an egg carton and go all Arbor Day at the local grocery store and hand them out, but that means the Silver Maples are winning. They cannot win.

Yes, it's annoying to pull them out of the gutters since they've crammed themselves in. Sure it's annoying to pull out the wee trees that are growing. None of that compares to the mixture of water and decay that has settled down. This stew of germination-gone-wrong and death creates brown water so wretched, it smells like the bowels of the Loch Ness Monster. It's equally as wet.

About a year ago, I finally wised-up and bought water-proof gloves to do the the dirty work of cleaning out the gutters. Before, I would use regular work gloves, and the stank water would seep into my gloves and into my pours. My hands, even after I washed them, smelled like I helped inseminate a turd monster.

There's nothing I can do about it aside from dropping a few thousand dollars to get gutter guards. So once each spring, I dawn my rubber gloves, roost atop my roof, while grabbing and pulling handfuls of seedlings out of my white gutters. I drop pounds and pounds of wet decomposition, wafting deathly stink into the air, and gag.

(It's also not fun to have the super-long ladder slide out a bit while trying to get off the roof, causing you to yell the "sh" word really loud so your neighbors can hear you (and give you a look) before you catch yourself and ask for help.)