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How to Grow Japanese Red Maple Trees from Seed

from: Michael McGroarty

Most Japanese Maple seeds ripen in the fall. Watch the tree and
wait for the seeds to turn brown. The seeds are ready to be
harvested when they are brown and can be easily removed from the
tree. The seeds are attached to a wing, it's best to break the
wing off before storing or planting the seeds. Japanese Maple
seeds have a very hard outer coating as do many ornamental
plants. Under natural conditions the seeds would have to be on
the ground for almost two years before they would germinate. All
that happens the first winter is the moisture softens the hard
outer shell, and the second winter germination is beginning to
take place. In order for all of this to happen in the proper
sequence so the seedlings actually sprout at a time of the year
when freezing temperatures or hot summer sun doesn't kill them,
takes a tremendous amount of luck. You can improve the odds by
controlling some of these conditions, and shorten the cycle.
Once you have picked the seeds and removed the wing just place
them in a paper bag and store them in a cool dry place until you
are ready for them. You don't want to plant your seeds out in
the spring until the danger of frost has past. Here in the north
May 15th is a safe bet. If May 15th is your target date you
should count backwards on the calendar 100 days. That will take
you to about February 5th if my math is correct. On or about the
100th day prior to your target planting date, take the seeds and
place them in a Styrofoam cup or other container that will
withstand some hot water. Draw warm to hot water from your
kitchen faucet and pour it over the seeds. Most of the seeds
will float, just leave them in the water overnight as the water
cools down. 24 hours later most of the seeds will have settled
to the bottom of the cup. Drain off the water. Place the seeds
in a plastic bag with a mixture of sand and peat or other
suitable growing mix. Even light potting soil will work. The
peat or soil should be moist, but not soaking wet. Poke some
holes in the bag so there is some air circulation, and place the
bag in your refrigerator for a period of 100 days. After 100
days you can plant the seeds outside. If you have timed it
correctly, you should be at or close to your target planting
date. To plant the seeds just sow them on top of a bed of well
drained topsoil or sterilized potting soil, and cover with
approximately 3/8" of soil. Water them thoroughly, but allow the
soil to dry out completely before watering thoroughly again. If
you water them frequently, not only do you stand a chance of the
seeds rotting from being too wet, but you will also keep them
cool, which will slow down the germination process. Once they
start to germinate provide about 50% shade to keep the sun from
burning them. Snow fence suspended about 30" above the bed will
provide about 50% shade. Japanese Maples will tolerate some
shade so it isn't too important to transplant them too quickly.

Depending on how close together they are, you might be able to
leave them in the same bed for one or two growing seasons. Don't
transplant until they are completely dormant.

About the author:

Mike McGroarty, the author of this article, would like to give
you this Ebook: "The Gardener's Secret Handbook". Stop by his website and get your copy right now.
It's his way of saying hello! Article provided by



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