Editor, The Cheshire Herald:
While I applaud the Cheshire Town Beautification Committee’s efforts to have residents plant more trees (Cheshire Herald, Sept. 30 “Maple Trees Are Known For Their Glorious Autumn Colors”), I cannot, as a UConn Master Gardener Intern and advocate for environmental responsibility, agree with the choice of Norway Maples as the number-one maple tree to plant. In fact, Norway Maples are the number-one tree not to plant.
Here’s why: Norway Maples are bullies. They are an aggressive, non-native species that out-competes our native maples and other hardwood trees. The shade from its early season canopy prevents native plants and ephemerals from blooming and thriving. These trees reproduce aggressively and can move into forested areas, disrupting the natural ecosystem. Norway Maples are also shallow-rooted, susceptible to damage in storms, and have fragile limbs that break easily.
There are better maple tree recommendations for homeowners, and in fact better choices for towns and businesses as well. They include the native trees mentioned in the article, native Red Maple (Acer rubrum), and Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum). Other Connecticut-native maples include Mountain Maple (Acer spicatum) and Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum).
Native trees are best for our native ecosystems. Ask your local nursery for native trees and plants. They are available and, if not presently in stock, just ask your local nursery to order one from their wholesalers.