P&PDL Picture of the Week for
February 19, 2007

Attack of the Sugar Maples

Glen Nice, Weed Diagnostician, Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology, Purdue University

            At first glance of the P&PDL picture of the week you might not be able to recognize the plant in the field (figure 2).  But with a closer look and the aid of figure 1., you might recognize the familiar leaves of sugar maple (Acer saccharum).  No-till farmers are quite accustom to fighting perennial weeds like common pokeweed, johnsongrass, and others, but they may not have had to contend with a field of sugar maple.  Although these are beautiful trees that can reach up to 150 feet tall, they are not a welcome sight in the middle of a farmers field.
            Information regarding the control of sugar maple tends to revolve around the control of mature trees in a forestry setting.  When turning to doing a search of labeled herbicides in agriculture only glyphosate products (Roundup Weathermax, Glyphomax, Rattler, etc) appear to have sugar maple on them.  In a burndown situation or when using Roundup Ready crops, this would work well.  However, most of the glyphosate labels address sugar maple in a spot application using up to 1.5% v/v solution.  This would be effective for a small area of saplings, but if you have a field full of young sugar maple saplings the idea of spot spraying might make you cringe.
            I have heard that Glyhosate and dicamba (Banvel, Clarity, etc) applied broadcast will provide good to excellent control of small saplings.  However, information to the specific control of sugar maple seedlings in corn or soybean is not fully addressed in the literature or research.  If the sugar maple is allowed to get larger then spot applications may be required.

The article “Sugar Maple in No-till Fields” by Glenn Nice and Bill Johnson first appeared in May of 2005. 

click image to enlarge

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service