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Seedling grown Japanese Maple Trees

Growing Japanese maple trees from seed is one of the most common methods of propagation.

Seedling Japanese Maple Trees Growing Japanese maple trees from seed is one of the most common methods of propagation. The seedling trees produced are of two types, the standard green Japanese maple tree known as Acer palmatum, and the red Japanese maple tree known as Acer palmatum Atropurpureum. The green variety of Japanese maple trees are most commonly used as rootstock or understock for grafting purposes, although, they also make good landscaping trees. The red seedlings are most commonly used as landscape trees, but can also be used as rootstock for grafting. Seedling Japanese maples trees will have varying characteristics, just as each child from the same two parents, has differences. I have grown tens of thousands of seedling Japanese maples and have noticed the differences between seedlings vary mostly between seedlings with different parents and not so much between seedlings with the same parents. So, if you desire Japanese red maple seedlings with good dark red colored leaves, finding a seed source from trees with controlled pollination between parents, seem to result in seedlings with less variation. Japanese maple seed is often described as difficult to germinate. I find it to be quite easy if persistent and patient. Seed can remain dormant and take up to two years to germinate. This process can be hastened if proper care is given during stratification. Stratification is the process in which the seed is subjected to either a natural or artificial climatic conditions. Most often, stratification is a cold treatment and is meant to duplicate the climate conditions during the winter months. Treatments can very from 30 days to 120 days of temperatures 34 degrees to 37 degrees. Stratification can also involve warm temperatures for a certain number of days. Some seed requires a warm and cold stratification before it will germinate. As for Japanese maple seed, Seed picked in the fall should be cold stratified for 120 days, before planting. A portion of the seed will sprout immediately, while other seed will remain dormant for the entire year and sprout the next spring. Seed can be planted in ground beds or in small pots; there is no single right way. I prefer to plant in pots, but this take a lot of space and more intense care, while ground beds are more forgiving and usually produce larger trees. Japanese maple tree seedlings can grow up to 36" in one season if all growing conditions are optimum. One more note about seedling grown Japanese Maple trees. I have seen seed being sold by the name of selected Japanese maple trees like Bloodgood, Ever Red, Crimson Queen, etc. These varieties will only be produced by vegetative propagation like grafting or cuttings. Seed can be collected from these trees, but the seedlings will not be exact clones of the parent plant. For information about grafting Japanese Red Maples click here.


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