How do I grow Acers from seed, please ?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by DumbDubya, Jul 31, 2004.

  1. DumbDubya

    DumbDubya Member

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    Hello friends ! I am new here, this is my first post and wishing to go beyond my ignorance ! Can some kind soul please tell me how to grow Acer seeds ? When do you collect them, when do you plant/propogate them, what treatment/timescale or other significant detail should I be aware of ?

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi DumbDubya:

    I like Shrubs!

    First we need to know what kind of Maple seeds
    such as Japanese Maples, Norway Maples, Silver
    Maples and so on you wish to germinate?

    There are some differences in how we may want to
    plant the seeds depending on which type of Maple
    we are dealing with.

    Each person has their own game plan for collecting
    seeds, storing the seeds, planting the seeds and then
    monitoring the germinating seeds. I will tell you
    how I have done it, which may differ from how
    others might do things.

    We have two options right off the start, do we
    plant the seeds as soon as we collect them or do
    we store the seeds for future planting? Due to
    my location I can pluck the Japanese Maple seeds
    right off the tree in late Spring and plant them
    directly in a wooden planter box about 4" deep.
    I will use a pencil, eraser end, to make my hole
    for seed placement and only go down about 1/4"
    in depth and cover over the seed. With winged
    seeds I leave the wings on. The soil mix that
    I use is 3/8 Forest Humus,1/8 Peat Moss, 1/4
    coarse sand, 1/8 Vermiculite or Perlite or a
    combination of both and 1/8 fine silt. I keep
    my soil medium moist, never super wet.

    Over the course of a year there may be some
    germination and of those plants that have
    germinated I will transplant them, when I
    feel they are ready into a pot such as a 2"
    "peat" pot and then take care of each seedling
    individually until each seedling establishes
    enough of a root system to be placed later
    in a 4" or larger plastic pot.

    For storage of my Trident Maple seeds that I
    harvest around in late July or August, depending
    on the tree, I will over winter those seeds by
    placing them in a sealed plastic sandwich baggie
    filled with moist, not wet, Peat Moss and place
    the seeds in the baggie making sure that the seeds
    are completely enveloped by the Peat Moss. I
    make a furrow in the middle of Peat Moss, place
    the seeds in the furrow and then cover over the
    seeds with the Peat Moss and then refrigerate
    them in the Butter compartment of my refrigerator.
    I will leave them in there until the Spring when I
    want to plant them but I will check the baggie
    about every 10 days to 2 weeks or so after a month
    has gone by to see if any of the seeds have indeed
    germinated. If they have germinated I will
    carefully place them in a 2" pot if necessary and
    grow them on indoors if need be. A greenhouse
    grower may chime in from here and tell you how
    he or she does things once the seeds germinate.

    Others in this forum may do things different and
    that is okay. One thing to remember is that some
    Maple seeds can take as long as 6 years to germinate.
    Most seeds germinate within the first 2 years from
    planting.

    I use no fertilizer or liquid additives at all for the
    seeds and the young seedlings. I want root system
    so I am extra cautious of protecting the roots.

    There are advantages both ways of planting now or
    storing and planting later. I like to get the Japanese
    and Full Moon Maple seeds in the ground quick
    if I can, as I have ample length of growing season
    to work with should the seeds germinate. Most but
    not all Maple seeds will germinate faster upon being
    stratified, being placed in the refrigerator, for a time
    period. The seed germination process comes down
    to, when do you want your seeds to be planted, what
    weather you will or might have when the seeds start
    to germinate, are you going to grow the seedlings
    outdoors, indoors under lights or in a greenhouse.
    I can only say this for myself but I expect to have at
    best a 10-15% germination percentage if I plant the
    seeds directly into the my planter. I can increase the
    germination percentage by stratification to around
    25-30% if I do not mind waiting a few months later
    to plant the seeds.

    Jim
     
  3. fgtbell

    fgtbell Member

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    My method for Japanese Maple hybrids is very simple: I collect the seeds when brown, in October or November here in the UK. They lie flat on the surface of a seed tray filled with ordinary seed/cutting compost. A thin layer of fine chipped bark is added on top. The tray is covered with agricultural fleece which is just fastened with string or a rubber band. I use small pieces of cut bamboo to lift the fleece slightly and stop it from lying actually on the seeds. The fleece just gives a little protection from frost and wind, for the ones that germinate early. The tray is left outside all winter. I take the fleece off in March or April and there are loads of maple seedlings an inch or so high.

    A variation of this method is to fill a plug tray as above and lie the seeds on it. Then the seedlings grow in plugs ready for potting on. The only problem with this is that you can sometimes get two or three seedlings in one plug, but overall the disruption to the roots at potting on is reduced.

    I just got tired of stratification in the fridge... I had a low success rate with it, lots of problems with mould, and lots that just didn't germinate, for whatever reason. Keeping them outside actually seems to have a higher success rate. I don't know what the germination percentage is, but since I collect the seed from my own Japanese maples, I am not too bothered - I probably got about 60 seedlings this year, which is far too many for me. I guess I probably collected in the region of 200 seeds to start with.

    Obviously using this method the Acers will not come true - especially as I have three different types that are old enough to cross pollinate - but it is fun to see the resulting variety. Some of them are big-lobed like the common Acer Palmatum, but some are very much towards the dissectum end of the spectrum.

    Can do a photo of the results if anyone is interested.
     
  4. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  5. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    my baby maples from seed of jm Fire Glow,and Butterfly,in one bed of sand and soil with low PH...
     

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  6. milli71

    milli71 Member

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    Hi, Alex!
    Thank You for let discover to me this fantastic forum!
    I've some maples like yours, but I can see their leaf are not regular. They will become better in the future?
    How many leaf can have a maple for to bear a transplant?
    ( Ciao, se vedemo!)
     
  7. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    ciaoo Milli!!!welcome on board,i'm very,very happy °(*-*)°
    but i have a little experience with maples from seed...
    Sam , Jim please reply to milli ,new maple lover girl!
    tanks in advance alex
     
  8. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Milli .... I have found that it is better to allow a new maple to grow strong before planting on into a larger pot
    They do not seem to like being moved on too much, and certainly each new pot should be just a couple of sizes bigger than the last
    Patience is the answer here I think ..... I don't judge it by the number of leaves ... I just feel it when the time is right
    All Japanese maples take a few years to settle down to what will turn out to be their finished state
    Good luck with your plants
     
  9. milli71

    milli71 Member

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    Thank You all for your answer.
    I have two acers in the same pot ( too much luck!!). What have I to do for separate them?
    Thanks,
    Milli
     
  10. milli71

    milli71 Member

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    Excuse me, I forgot to say the pot is 10cm. diameter, and the acers are newborn..
     
  11. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    hi milli ,i have separate baby plant after two week , that maples born...
    ciaooo
     
  12. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    tease them apart carefully Milli and repot each in its own pot :)
     
  13. Anita 13th

    Anita 13th New Member

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    Well, I MUST have green fingers then. I saw a magnificent red glowing Acer in someone's garden. No 1 was at home so I picked up some winged seeds from the ground. Remembering my school days, I took a jam jar lined with some damp tissue, placed the seeds on top + closed the lid, put it onto windowsill in shade and hey presto, all 3 germinated. We are talking about 8 weeks..... simple enough for the ones who might be confused with all the science of fridge, soil, sand...... etc? ?????
     
  14. tiko7

    tiko7 New Member

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    Greetings from East Europe ,Bulgaria. I have been growing acer palmatum from seeds for 3 years, but this year the seeds are already starting to "chit" in the fridge. What options do I have?
    Sowing into cell plugs and babysit them into the greenhouse or put them at a lower temp in the fridge?
    Here we are still going to have at least 3 weeks of night temp at around minus 5 Celsius.(23 fahrenheit)

    Any suggestion is welcome!
     
  15. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    japanese maple germination is easy in the fridge is better because the temperature is well stable ,when the first root born is the time for put the seeds in pot good temperature for growing the germinate seeds is around 16-20 °C with high humidity, bathroom is one good solution ;)
     

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