When should one order maple seeds?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by kaspian, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Given all the information in the sticky above about how to encourage maple seeds to germinate -- stratification, et al -- is it safe to conclude that maple seeds should be ordered in autumn, not in spring?

    On a related note ... I'm impressed by how much time and care some people invest in raising these trees from seed. But does anyone take a more laid-back approach -- for instance, simply planting the seeds in an outdoor bed in autumn, and letting the natural seasonal cycle do the work of breaking the seeds' germination-inhibiting mechanisms?
     
  2. katsura

    katsura Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    446
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Novato, California
    I plant my seeds in October and November. I have to use trays and then cold stratify in the
    fridge cuz I do not get cold enuf but in Maine you shud have no problem.
    Plenty of colleagues on this forum I am sure plant the seeds in outdoor beds and take your "more
    laid back approach". Some grow seedlings to use as rootstock for grafting and others like me for
    the sheer joy of it and the possibility of new genetics. This year I planted some seed I got from a
    friend in Italy on March 5th cuz I got them in early Feb and left them in the fridge for a month.
    They have not germinated yet. I have found out here that the later the seeds gereminate after
    late April the higher the die off rate. Raising seedlings is sheer fun because they are so cute and
    thrilling to watch grow. Have fun!
     
  3. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,647
    Likes Received:
    509
    Location:
    Northamptonshire, England
    I've tried the stratification etc route in the past with some success, but not as high a germination rate as I expected. In the last couple of years I've adopted an even more laid back approach than you suggest. I just wait for seedlings to start growing in the pots of my established maples. This is obviously not a high volume approach but it supplies me with enough for my needs, and I know the parent trees have genetic qualities I admire because they come from my own collection. Just be careful not to weed your pots in April and May!

    The existing roots in the cointainer can make the seedlings difficult to remove, so I usually pot the seedlings up in the summer when the stems have developed some woodiness and I think they are strong enough to be roughly handled, unless they look like they are going to be particularly difficult to extract in which case I wait till March and dig them out before they break dormancy.

    Of course I have no way of knowing if these seeds have lain dormant for 1, 2, 3, 4 or even more winters before sprouting, but sprout they do. The seedlings grown this way seem particularly hardy so far, maybe because they have fallen to the ground, lain dormant, sprouted and then grown in the same environment. Out of seven that sprouted last year, all seven leafed out this spring, having been outside throughout the UK's coldest winter for about 20 years.

    However you choose to grow your seedlings it is a very rewarding experience. As katsura says, it is "sheer fun" to watch them develop, and wonder how they might eventually look:
    seedling2.JPG
     
  4. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    Thanks for these interesting replies.

    I'm especially gratified to hear of Maf's relaxed approach to maple propagation. I seize upon this kind of thing as justification for my basic indolence as a gardener. It's really amazing how much stuff is growing out there, considering how little I contribute to the enterprise.
     

Share This Page