Help please!

Discussion in 'Maples' started by JackV, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. JackV

    JackV Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England
    Questions

    Hi there.

    I was wondering if anyone could help me with some advice please.
    I have recently gained some Japanese Red Maple seeds(ACER PALMATUM 'ATROPURPUREUM') and I am going to begin growing them. I have up untill recently never had a garden and so one could safely assume that my overall gardening skills are non existent and that this will be training and so to speak my first time out.
    I have been doing a fairly large amount of research into the matter of planting these seeds and have reached a dichotomy regarding Stratifcation of the seeds; should you shouldn't you?

    To help set the tone I live in the UK just out of London and I want to know if I should plant the little guys now of stratify them first. My overall aim here is to cultivate the maple and keep it small. I am contemplating commiting myself to attempting Bonsai with these but am well aware that one should walk before running. Regardless of this I want to keep them small anyways.
    I have read that this species in particular is a bit stubborn when it comes to sprouting and some take a few seasons to push on through. Obviously I do not wish to wait 2 years to have them grow and would rather they appear this spring.
    Should I stratify them or let nature take its natural course? If the answer is the former as opposed to the latter then how do you suggest I go about it, avoiding as much as possible all the fungus growths I have heard about etc. How long would one keep them cold for and when to pot them? Additionally I am curious as to the best soil to put them in, I have heard that, "1:1 mix of multi-purpose compost and sand is ideal though there are also many ready-mixed seed composts available at garden centres"
    Also I dont know if it changes matters or is advantageous but I have a green house.

    So please do not frown on a neophyte for what may to you seem to be silly questions but. Most of what I ask here I have got information on and could follow, its just that there is so much. One google search brings up literally thousands of pages each with one person saying "this is the way" and another refuting that. I think it would be nicer to hear it from some real people, especially if I am going to be spending a lot of time on these one would imagine more advice will undoubtably be requested.

    Thanks

    Jack
     
  2. corcor

    corcor Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    nebraska, usa
    Re: Questions

    Hi Jack, glad to hear you want to try out bonsai. Bonsai was my first gardening experience as well. I had juniper seeds which never sprouted :(.

    My advice would be to let mother nature do her thing with your maple seeds. Toss them out in an area where you can let them grow for a while and put some dirt over them. The winter will take care of the stratification process for you. If you decided to go through with the work yourself rather than throwing them outside you should wait untill a few months before spring to keep the trees in sync with the changing seasons.

    After they have sprouted it may be upwards of 10 years before these things turn into very nice bonsai. Which is a good reason to get some already started stock to practice bonsai techniques on. Japanese Maples intended for bonsai are fairly pricey but you could always experiment with other species.

    Also while you wait do some reading, there are some very talented bonsai artists on that side of the Atlantic, check out Harry Harringtons site www.bonsai4me.com also for some inspiration check out Walter Pall's blog...I can't remember the url but a google search will get you there in no time. If you have any intrest in growing indoor bonsai, look at www.bonsaihunk.us

    good luck!
     
  3. JackV

    JackV Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England
    Hi everyone.

    I'm still very new to this and as such keep double guessing myself.
    I have just aquired some Japanese Red Maples seeds (5) and before I got them I was certain that I would cold stratify them now i'm not sure. Should I just plant them?
    I do want them to sprout this coming spring but my friend has said that the weather now is good enough to unlock the dormancy of the seed if left outside for winter.

    Please help me
     
  4. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,975
    Likes Received:
    1,444
    Location:
    Northamptonshire, England
    Re: Assistance or advice required

    Hi, are the seeds fresh or dried?

    I find outdoor natural stratification works well enough for fresh seed in the English climate. Dried seed is a different matter, and pre-soaking and cold stratifying would likely give a much higher rate of germination in the first year.
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,166
    Likes Received:
    378
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    You could sow them outside and they'd germinate in the spring . . . IF they don't get eaten by mice, etc., first. Trees produce thousands of seeds, often tens of thousands; only a few get through the winter to germinate. I'd not rate the chances for 5 seeds very high, without protection. So yes, I'd cold stratify them in the fridge, where they'll be safe. The ideal temperature is +1° to +2°, and store them in damp (not dripping wet!) sand.
     
  6. JohanAbrandt

    JohanAbrandt Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Skane, Sweden
    Re: Assistance or advice required

    I would stratify them in the refrigerator for 90-120 days, checking every week for white tails, and whenever a tail comes out then sow in one of them small "greenhouse" boxes you can keep in the window.
     
  7. JackV

    JackV Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England
    Thanks for your assitance everyone!

    Yeah I have already seen a few of these sites. They are pretty good

    Going to get the stuff to stratify them today and then begin the process on the first of December taking them out (if they havent sprouted in the meantime) on the first of March. Thats 120 days of being in the cold coming out just before the begining of Spring.
    I am going to stratify them in Vermiculite if I can get it. If I cannot then I will just use seed compost.

    I will let you know how goes.
    (also hopefully I will get my post in the right section)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2009
  8. JohanAbrandt

    JohanAbrandt Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Skane, Sweden
    I´ve used sphagnum moss, and havent had any problems with fungus yet. I dont even bother taking them out of the fridge until they have already germinated, i.e shown a little white tail. I tried that with my first batches, i.e. stratify for a fixed period and then plant, but had a lousy success rate. If I wait for the tail, then I see over 90% success rate.
     
  9. JackV

    JackV Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England

    Excellent I will give this a go. When you say white tail do you mean heading downwards like the begining of the root system? I am going to use a takeaway tub like a tupperware tray to fill up and put the seeds in. It has a lid that snaps on.
    If the tail as I imagine begins downwards how am I to see it without disturbing the seeds all the time?

    Also in regards to the sphagnum moss someone has suggested to me that sawdust is as good a medium for stratyfying. Im not sure what I make of this. I mean surely it cannot hold moisture as well and secondly it has no nutrients inherent to it surely. I imagine a seed doesn't need much from the soil initially but when it begins to sprout and the "tail" emerges its going to try to draw on every resource avaible. If this happens in sawdust surely the seedling will wither and die, wouldn't it?
     
  10. JohanAbrandt

    JohanAbrandt Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Skane, Sweden
    I use a normal plastic bag, and havent worried about disturbing the seeds. I check them once a week after 3 months, and just tip the whole contents on a plate and go through it. If any seed is broken, with a small white tail coming out, in any direction, then I plant. I dont think the seed needs any nutirient from the medium for quite some time after sprouting, so sawdust is probably just as OK. I used sphagnum because it keeps water well, and because it is clean and easy to handle.

    I also believe that it is easier to err on the to wet than to dry side. As long as the medium feels wet to touch you´ll be fine, but if there are visible water drops then it is certainly to wet.

    EDIT: Yes, it is the root that comes first. The other end has 2 small leaves unrolling, but usually it takes far longer for this part to "break free".
     
  11. JackV

    JackV Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England
    Nice one, cheers!
     

Share This Page