What is this all over my yard!? - red 'seeds' - Eupatorium?

lizzie_nh

I hope someone can help me figure out what has blown all over my yard. I'm really a newbie gardener who lives on about 9 acres of mostly wooded land in the Concord, NH area. Our house is relatively new and is built on a recently logged clearing within the otherwise wooded land. Since we have essentially a blank canvas, save for the natural woods, I've been working for the last few years to do a bit of landscaping - foundation plantings, hosta, rhododendrons, etc. along with a relatively small (relative to 9 acres) grassy area.

Last year I saw beautiful Eupatorium Rugosum Chocolate plants at the garden center, and bought them on the spot without doing any research. I planted 4 plants in front of the house, interspersed with the dwarf boxwood which I'd planted a couple years before. To my surprise, they grew quickly and their final height was just perfect with the boxwood, and their end of season white flowers on the dark foliage also looked fantastic alongside the boxwood. AFTER planting them, I did some research and realized that they apparently self-sow like crazy and can be very invasive. Others wrote that since they mulch heavily, they've never had problems with self-sowing of the Eupatorium. Since all my planted areas are mulched, I wasn't worried.

Fast-forward to today. I have noticed that something has blown all over a portion of my grassy area, and is even up on the branches of evergreen trees bordering the grass. Oddly, none of it is actually in the area where the Eupatorium are planted, and it is not evenly distributed in the vicinity, but is only on one side of the yard - the area of our land which is closest to a neighboring house. I want to know if what I am seeing could be from my Eupatorium, and if not, what it might be.

What I am seeing (sorry, no photos) looks sort of like tiny red raspberries - it has that sort of segmented look. But, the "raspberries" are opened up, with quite a large number of filaments growing out, and at the end of each filament is a tiny seed which looks like grass seed. These are just ALL over the place in my side yard. I've never noticed them in previous years, but then again, I was never on the lookout for invasive plant seedlings. (I am horrified that they are my doing and my neighbor may have to deal with them.)

Is this anything one would see in spring, following Eupatorium Rugosum Chocolate going to seed the previous fall? These are loose on the ground and up in trees (and even stuck to the side of tree trunk) as if they just blew in from somewhere. Is this how the Eupatorium seed behave, or would those only show themselves as actual seedlings coming out of the ground?

Any idea what these could be if they're not the eupatorium?

Thanks!

SaveComment11Like
Comments (11)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Iris GW

Could you be seeing the spent flowers of Oaks, mulberries or sweetgums? Those indeed are all over the place come spring.

This time of year is too early for that Eupatorium to be doing anything but sprouting up new leaves from the ground.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lizzie_nh

Hmm... I'm not sure about that. Do you mean spent flowers from this season? As far as I know, mulberries and sweetgums do not grow in my region. We have tons of oak trees (and tons of acorns) but I'm really not aware of what oak tree flowers would look like. I should mention that currently virtually nothing is "up" yet here - there are very tiny buds on trees, the hosta tips are just barely visible above ground, the grass is getting greener but not very green yet. There are definitely no spent flowers from THIS year yet, as there are no tree flowers at all yet. My planted eupatorium are not doing anything yet, but I wasn't sure if loose seeds would somehow sprout into something larger if they were above ground. I know... very ignorant. :-) But what is so mysterious is the fact that there are not yet flowers or leaves on any of our trees, so it can't be anything from this year.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lizzie_nh

... and we had heavy snow this winter, the last of which only melted a couple days ago. I would assume that spent flowers from last year wouldn't look so "fresh".

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lizzie_nh

Resolved, I think! I think you are right that it is from oak, which is surprising since I check the trees on a regular basis for any signs of 'spring' and noticed nothing. I feel a little stupid since it may be such a common thing and something I should have noticed in other years. I guess I'm incredibly paranoid about causing a plant invasion in the neighborhood.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mosswitch

oak flowers are long catkins, some varieties can be reddish. They are falling now.

Mulberrry flowers are also catkins:
http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Mulberries.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Oak flowers

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
terryr(z5a IL)

lol...lizzy...are we related? I do things like this all the time. I was going to suggest those thingamabob's the trees get before they get their leaves, but I see mosswitch is calling them catkins on oaks. I wonder what they are on green ash? Took me forever to realize this stuff all over was from that tree...lol...

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mosswitch

Green ash flowers look totally different from oak flowers.

Here is a link that might be useful: green ash

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Iris GW

Here is a link to a picture of oak flowers. When they hit the ground, they may be brownish, reddish or yellowish, depending on the species.

You may also be seeing the dead maple flowers.

Here is a link that might be useful:

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
terryr(z5a IL)

mosswitch, I know they're different. I meant I wonder what the brown long twisty things they shed are called. I should have specified that, sorry for the confusion.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mosswitch

The oak flowers, walnut flowers and other long, brown twisty things are called catkins. Green ash flowers are called panicles. Maple flowers are called racemes, corymbs, or umbels.

The winged maple and box elder seeds are called samaras, just as an aside. Cool word.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
terryr(z5a IL)

mosswitch, my long brown twisty things are coming off my green ash tree. This is the second house with a green ash. The neighbor however, does have some sort of an oak tree. And there's maples all over (except our yard). I'm going to pay attention to what's coming off that oak tree next door. I know what's coming off the ash. I would say the word was cool also, but I'm not sure how you're supposed to pronounce it...lol...

Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Gardening Guides How to Plant a New Lawn From Seed
Choose from more grass varieties and save money over sod by starting your lawn from seed
Full Story
Materials Mesquite: The Brawny Beauty for All Over the Home
Denser than other hardwoods and sporting beautiful coloration, mesquite makes a fine material for flooring, countertops, furniture and more
Full Story