Murdered in cold sap

I droned on and on this summer about how I took out a dead Maple tree from our back yard and replaced it with a younger version. Now that I’ve got you accustomed to my blather about trees, I might as well finish the saga.

I won’t hide the truth: our transplanted Maple sapling suffered from my mistakes.

My mistakes:

  1. Transplanting a Maple sapling in the middle of summer
  2. Transplanting a Maple sapling in the middle of a hot, dry summer
  3. Losing many of the sapling’s best roots to my battle with the chicken wire it had grown up around
  4. Only being partially certain it was actually a Maple sapling, based upon the shape of its leaves and my desire for a Maple sapling

Despite my dedication to giving it regular watering and pep talks, most of its leaves turned brown and dried up. Still, I clutched at straws of hope, in the form of the approximately three leaves that did not turn brown after several weeks.

With September, the rains returned. Our little tree held its few remaining leaves. After a nice, restful winter, maybe it would come back with a fresh start in the spring. Maybe it would be a dry twig by then, but I figured it was worth giving it a chance.

Not everyone agreed with me.

The last time I went to visit it, I found tragedy.  Somebody had stripped the bark all the way around the poor little thing. I may not be smart enough to know for sure if this little trooper were ever truly a Maple tree, but I do know trees can’t live without bark. There will be no fresh start in spring.

These crime scene photos can be difficult to stomach.

I went online to find out who might have done such a thing, because I feel better when I can cast blame elsewhere for my failures. The list of culprits who strip bark includes bears, porcupines, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, and deer. Not listed, but also probably capable of quickly striping bark, based on what I surmise from watching TV, would be cartoon Tasmanian Devils and Sharknados.

The most usual suspects seem to be squirrels. This makes sense, as I have never seen squirrels do anything to help anybody but themselves.

Can the CSI techs get a print off these claw marks?

Among the many reasons squirrels strip bark is because it’s fun and apparently squirrels get bored a lot. During the many extended coffee breaks from counting their nuts, they spread gossip and strip bark.

I once saw a hapless squirrel fall out of a tree. I felt bad for him, but now I know it was just the tree dispensing a little Karma.

I have one other thing that might be a Maple sapling growing in my Nursery of Random Flora. At the appropriate time of year I may try that one. Or maybe I’ll plant nothing. Nothing, after all, is easier to mow around than trees, and its leaves rake up in no time at all.


17 comments on “Murdered in cold sap

  1. janethc says:

    Since Ron and I spent the summer TALKING about planting a maple sapling, I’m glad we waited! Thanks for the “tails” up—i.e. squirrels—especially since the ones that visit our yard are apparently not in the least bit afraid of humans. Either that, or they know full well my husband and I are the LEAST threatening humans on the face of the planet. Oh, yeah…doing the planting at some time other than the middle of a dry, hot summer is good advice as well. Thanks!

    • I’m glad you can learn from my mistakes. I always say, if putting my ignorance on display can help even one person, then there’s a good reason I’ve been acting so stupid. Good luck with your Maple endeavors.

  2. floatinggold says:

    Pesky squirrels. You sure it wasn’t one of your human fellows, though?

  3. thegsandwich says:

    Are you sure it wasn’t the kids whittling? Just kidding. Yet another reason I really don’t like squirrels.

  4. Just Joan says:

    Maybe your maple sapling is an exhibitionist… first it drops all its leaves, then it slips out of its bark, now its putting on a free XXX show in your backyard. I’m a tree hugger and all, but I have to agree, nothing makes your life easier than replacing it with nothing. It’s good to have a bit of negative space. 🙂

  5. Gibber says:

    Nonetheless a valiant effort. Rip little sapling.

  6. Gibber says:

    Oh and by the way did you give your sapling Scotch? If not that could be the problem. 😉

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