Daniela in Bracebridge, Ont., asks:
How do I permanently get rid of the hundreds of maple saplings (about 2 to 3 inches tall) that grew naturally from dropped keys? We recently purchased this house, and the backyard has suffered some neglect.
It sounds like the maple keys have germinated in bare soil. If that’s the case, just mow over them a few times; that should eliminate them. If they’re already too woody or tall for mowing, you could weed-whack them or solarize the area (cover the seedlings with heavy black plastic to starve them of moisture and sunlight). Maple seedlings will be a recurring issue until you cover the bare soil with turf, groundcover or some kind of mulch to prevent them from germinating. Exposed soil is an open invitation for weed seeds to put down roots.