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Boerne Chapter

Maple Momma and her volunteers did it again!

Author: Bill Ward

For the fifth consecutive year, Maple Momma and her team of volunteers helped add scores of bigtooth maple trees to the streets of Boerne. During 2010, Maple Momma (aka Suzanne Young) took applications from Boerne homeowners and businesses for 104 bigtooth maples. These were distributed free of charge last week.

Darcy and Mike Maciolek check out their new bigtooth maple as Maple Momma (center) records their gift and volunteer Donna Taylor (right) brings them the wire enclosure to protect the sapling from deer and weedeaters. (Photo by Bill Ward)


This year there also will be a special December giveaway of 38 bigtooth maples to be planted along Main Street and around Main Plaza. These will add to the hundreds of maples given to Boerne since 2006 by the Bigtooth Maples for Boerne program of the Boerne Chapter, Native Plant Society of Texas.

Bigtooth Maples for Boerne is a ten-year effort to bring the beautiful fall colors of our native bigtooth maple into the city of Boerne. Perhaps one day in the near future, a “trip to see the maples in fall color” will mean a drive through the streets of Boerne as well as a walk through the canyons of Lost Maples State Natural Area.

The Bigtooth Maples for Boerne project is generously sponsored by the Lende Foundation. The trees are supplied by Baxter Adams, who raises thousands of maples at his nursery on Highway 16 in Medina, Texas. The long-term commitment of both the Lende Foundation and Baxter Adams to Bigtooth Maples for Boerne ensures this program is one of the most-effective community tree-planting programs in Texas or anywhere else.

Two people at an event outside; one of them is hoding a potted plant and the other is marking a piece of paper.
Maple Momma checks the tag number on the bigtooth maple received by Robin Wainner last Saturday at the Agriculture Museum. (Photo by Bill Ward)

Maple Momma’s long-term commitment to Bigtooth Maples for Boerne is another major factor in its success. The effort she expends on this program all year long is impressive, especially because this is just one of the community projects in which Suzanne Young is a leader.

During the five years the Bigtooth Maples for Boerne program has existed, Maple Momma has devised a well-organized annual routine, which includes publicizing the program, receiving applications for trees, ordering trees for the fall giveaway, buying fence wire and mulch, posting instructions for care and planting, and soliciting volunteers to help make wire cages, unload the maples, and distribute the trees to the lucky recipients. At the end of each year, she checks all the accounts and makes a report on that year’s expenditures to the Lende Foundation. Maybe we should call her Superwoman instead of Maple Momma.

Red leaves on a tree in front of a Greenway Crossing 9 sign.
Maple planted by the Boerne Chapter NPSOT on the Old Number 9 hike-and-bike trail at Blanco Road. (Photo by Maple Momma)

Applications for receiving a free bigtooth maple may be made online at maplesforboerne@aol.com. Only citizens, businesses, or organizations within the Boerne City limits are eligible to receive the trees. Trees must be planted where they are publicly displayed, generally on the street side of a home or business.

Each tree is tagged with a special number for long-term monitoring of the trees in order to gather data for a study on best growing conditions for urban plantings of bigtooth maples.

The landscape of the new Police and Municipal Court Complex on Old San Antonio Road will feature several bigtooth maples. In addition to that, a dozen bigtooth maples have been ordered for the grounds of the new Patrick Heath Public Library off of Main Street.

Bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum) truly is a Boerne native. I don’t know whether any naturally grown trees remain within the Boerne city limits, but there are thousands of bigtooth maples in the limestone canyons on the northwestern edge of Boerne, and a few grow along Cibolo Creek just southeast of Boerne. Bigtooth maple is the Boerne tree!

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason