About 8-9 years ago, I was helping my friend Jason in his backyard NE Minneapolis garden. The yard was an interesting one: sloping steeply up to the alley, it had been filled by a previous owner with all manner of garbage like railroad ties, broken-up concrete, bricks and pavers. We could only speculate it was that guy’s attempt at terracing, but it was so chaotic that it was simply unclear. It took him (and friends like me) a long time to make it a productive garden again.
So we’re attacking one area near the back fence, on the property line. He’s sawing the branch of a tree that has grown through the fence. “Damned weed trees,” said Jason.
Weed trees? (Such heresy, I thought.) “What do you mean, weed trees?”
“Damned maples. Any of them. Box elders, bur oaks, and don’t get me started about willows,” he said.
As a city person, he was obviously crazy. Trees, as weeds? Well, it took me a couple more years to come around to his point of view. My theretofore easy definition of weed = anything growing where you do not want it does now include trees.
Maples are our particular bugaboo here. Their little helicopter propeller fruit readily plant themselves any- and everywhere. I do get my revenge, though, on the saplings: they make great tomato stakes. Cheap tomato stakes, too, as it happens!