How to Stop Maple Tree Seed Pod Development

Maple tree seed structures are known by various names including keys, tags and spinners. These structures earn their descriptive titles due to their unusual shape and behavior. Maple seeds develop in pairs on a stem, much like a cherry fruit. Each seed is attached to a papery wing-like structure. When maple seed pods fall from a tree, these little maple tree spinners whirl and spin like blades on a helicopter. These seeds can catch the wind and travel for some distance. Maple seeds can be tough to clean up due to their quantity and propensity to broadcast. But you can stop the formation of seeds using a hormone growth inhibitor.

Maple leaf
credit: Auttapol Sangsub/Moment/GettyImages
How to Stop Maple Tree Seed Pod Development

Helicopter Seeds

These seeds are often referred to as helicopter seeds because of the way they spin, and that spinning actually helps them to fly. Trees often do this when the weather is changeable or the trees are stressed. Stressing a tree sends it into survival mode, which causes it to put out more seed pods than usual. Silver maple tree seeds are notorious for producing a lot of seed pods.

Sometimes a tree is not stressed, but has produced more flowers than usual. Often, a frost will kill some of the blossoms, but if the frost doesn't arrive, and the blossoms go to seed, that can also produce an abundance of seed pods. It may also delay the leafing on some of your branches early in the summer, although they should leaf out by mid summer.

Stopping Maple Seed Pods

Observe maple trees for the point when flowering occurs. You can prevent seed formation by preventing pollinated flowers from developing.

Cover nearby vegetation with plastic tarps to protect them from growth regulator hormone overspray. You should also never spray growth regulator hormone on a windy day.

Consult your county extension service or master gardener program for a list of recommended growth hormone regulators. Many experts recommend a product such as Florel to inhibit growth of seeds as well as fruit in many plants.

How to Use Growth Hormone Regulator

Mix the growth regulator hormone with water in a mixing bucket at a rate of 1 quart hormone per 10 gallons water. Use the hormone immediately. The hormone will lose potency if it is stored.

Fill the tank of a chemical spray applicator with the hormone. Prime the tank of the sprayer to build pressure by grasping the pump handle and working it up and down. Hold the tank by the handle with one hand and the wand with the other hand. Point the sprayer at the maple tree and depress the trigger of the wand to release a jet of hormone.

Wave the wand over the tree in a grid pattern to evenly distribute the spray. Make certain that the tree is evenly coated with the growth regulator hormone.