Growing a Maple Tree From Seeds

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In summary, the seeds did not sprout, so you might try burying them in the ground or storing them in a fridge for 90 days.
  • #1
NeoDevin
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Anyone have any advice on starting/growing sugar maples from seeds? I bought some seeds a little while ago, and followed the directions on the package, but they never sprouted. The package said to put them in the fridge for a few months, then plant them. I did that with no luck, so I was hoping someone else could tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Thanks.
 
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  • #2
Nature does it for us. We have maple seedlings in our yard all the time. The seeds blow off the trees in the fall (autumn), or squirrel bury them, as well as acorns, so we have maple and oak seedlings sprouting in spring.

You might try and bury some in the yard.
 
  • #3
That would be excellent advice if I had a yard ;)
 
  • #5
turbo-1's reference nicely describes stratification. However, I would not soak them in hot water, so as not to risk accidentally cooking the plant cells. Soaking in warm water would be fine. Also that particular reference describes germination of Japanese Red Maple. "Sugar Maples" germinate better at lower temperatures.

This USDA Forestry Service reference, describes why..

Sugar maple seed has an extremely high germination capacity, with averages of 95 percent or more. The optimum temperature for germination is about 1° C (34° F), the lowest of any known forest species. Germination drops rapidly as temperatures increase, and little if any germination occurs above 10° C (50° F). Rapid warming of the surface soil in the spring of 1978 in northern Wisconsin, for example, prevented germination from the bumper seed crop of 1977, except in a few remaining snowbanks along the roads. This unique characteristic of germination at low temperatures probably accounts for the abundance of sugar maple regeneration under most stand conditions in the north.
 
  • #6
I still have not been able to access that link turbo-1. Could someone who can access it please post the relevant information here?

Thanks.
 
  • #7
Essentially, you break the wings off the seeds, put them in a jar of warm water, and let them soak for a day, then you put them in some damp peat moss, sand, soil, etc in a plastic bag (with a few holes poked in it) and store the bag in your refrigerator for 90 days or until the seeds begin to sprout. If you start this process today, your seeds should be ready to plant by mid-May.
 
  • #8
Thanks turbo-1, just put them in a jar of water.

The instructions that came with them said to use ice water, maybe that's what wrecked the last few...
 

Related to Growing a Maple Tree From Seeds

1. How do I collect maple tree seeds?

To collect maple tree seeds, wait until late summer or early fall when the seeds are mature and have turned brown. Look for fully-developed seeds on the ground or still attached to the tree. You can also shake the branches to release the seeds or use a pole to knock them down. Avoid collecting seeds that are still green or have not fully developed.

2. What is the best way to store maple tree seeds?

Maple tree seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place. Place them in an airtight container, such as a ziplock bag or a glass jar, and store them in the refrigerator. Make sure to label the container with the type of maple tree and the date you collected the seeds. Seeds can be stored for up to a year before planting.

3. How long does it take for a maple tree to grow from a seed?

It can take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to several months for a maple tree to germinate from a seed. Once germinated, it can take several years for the tree to reach maturity and produce seeds of its own. The exact time frame will depend on the type of maple tree and growing conditions.

4. What type of soil is best for growing maple tree seeds?

Maple tree seeds prefer a well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. A mixture of potting soil and perlite or vermiculite is ideal. The soil should also be slightly acidic with a pH of 5.5-6.5. Avoid using garden soil, as it may contain pests or diseases that can harm the seeds.

5. When is the best time to plant maple tree seeds?

The best time to plant maple tree seeds is in the fall, after they have been collected and stored. This allows the seeds to go through a period of cold stratification, which helps with germination. However, seeds can also be planted in the spring as long as they have been stored properly and have not started to germinate.

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