K-Guard Kansas City Blog

Keep Red Maple Helicopters Out of Your Gutters

What falls from trees, whirls, twirls, and is fun to play with as a kid but is a nuisance as an adult? Red maple helicopters, of course. While captivating, red maple helicopters, or whirlybirds, somehow find their way into every nook and cranny of our homes and vehicles. Now that we’re well into autumn, they’re falling rapidly and are finding their way into and onto everything. 

Not only do they cover our walkways, cars, and yards, they also cover our pools, patio furniture, and our gutter systems. Red maple helicopters can travel long distances and can cause some issues for homeowners. Let’s learn more about these whirlybirds, the threat they pose to gutters and downspouts, and how to keep them out of your gutter system.

Red Maple Helicopter Overview

Red maples are one of the most beautiful trees in The Heartland, offering foliage that takes our breath away. When most people think of fall foliage they imagine maples, sporting their red and orange hues. They truly are one of the most beautiful trees in our region.

Red maples yield gorgeous foliage and spread seeds through those little helicopters or whirlybirds we previously mentioned. Those little helicopters or whirlybirds have a technical name: samara. The samaras that grow on red maple trees are designed to travel long distances. The samaras can travel great lengths and have an aerodynamic design that allows them to plant their seeds directly into the soil. Because the samaras don’t drop until they’re fully dry- usually in late summer and fall- they can travel long distances since they’re so lightweight.

Once the whirlybirds take flight from their maple, they travel these long distances to plant seeds in sunnier locations, away from the tree they originated from. This allows them to be planted in soil and have sunlight to grow.

Red Maple Helicopters Pose Dangers to Gutter Systems

Although they’re captivating to children of all ages, red maple helicopters pose dangers to gutter systems. Red maples can spread their seeds over a large area, therefore, it’s very likely that if you have one in your yard, they will find their way into your gutter system. 

Whirlybirds collect rapidly and when they land in a gutter system they can cause clogs. These clogs impede water flow, forcing the water that your gutters collect to overflow. Clogged gutters can cause all sorts of issues for homeowners including but not limited to the following: roof problems, foundation damage, damage to the soffit and fascia boards, damage to your landscaping, and they can even increase your energy bills.

How can I Keep Red Maple Helicopters Out of My Gutter System?

Open-top gutters are an invitation for debris like leaves and whirlybirds to collect since there is no cover or top, exposing the gutter. Gutter screens and filters can keep out larger debris like acorns and leaves but whirlybirds may still find a way in because they’re so slim.  

Cleaning your half-round gutters often can help to decrease the likelihood for clogs to form. Every homeowner should clean their open-top gutter system at least a few times per year, more often if you have trees on your property that are close to your roof. The constant cleaning is a nuisance and most homeowners dread it, not to mention it can be dangerous since the use of a ladder is required.

So, what can you do to keep red maple helicopters out of your gutter system? A permanent solution is the K-Guard Leaf Free Gutter System. Unlike open-top gutter systems, the K-Guard Gutter System has a curved hood that allows rain and meltwater to flow from the roof and into the gutter. Our curved hood enables all debris including red maple helicopters to simply slide off of the gutter system rather than entering the gutter through the narrow opening where only water adheres. Our gutter product comes with three-lifetime guarantees including a clog-free guarantee.

Ready to say goodbye to cleaning your gutters year-round and hello to a permanent solution for keeping all debris out? Contact the team at K-Guard – we’re here to help answer any questions you may have about our gutter system. We also offer a free estimate that includes a detailed analysis of your current gutter system so you can be fully informed when it comes to replacing your existing gutter system. 

Schedule a free in-home estimate today and we’ll provide you with a detailed analysis of your current gutter system along with estimated costs for installing your K-Guard Gutter System. K-Guard proudly offers our gutter installation service to homeowners across both Missouri and Kansas including but not limited to the following locations: Kansas City, Overland Park, Topeka, Olathe, Shawnee, Independence, Lenexa, and Lee’s Summit.


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