En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - June 23, 2007

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Seed pods on Acer grandidentatum
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, we have three young Big Tooth Maples that are doing very well in our pasture. We bought them already established and small. However, we would like to start some. Do they produce a seed?? What would you suggest. We have noticed some green pods with brown leaves on each of them recently hanging on the trees. Are these seedlings and if so, what would be the best way to start them. Thank you..

ANSWER:

The green pods with brown leaves on your Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple) are the seeds called samaras. Here are more pictures from the USDA Plants Database.

Jill Nokes in How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest has a thorough treatment of propagation from seeds of Acer species, in general, and A. grandidentatum, in particular. It would be well worth your while to read it. You might check your local library for a copy or you can buy your own copy in most book stores. She points out that germination is tricky in the maples because the seed dormancy needs to be broken.

She recommends collecting the seeds from the tree (rather than using ones that have fallen to the ground) when "the seeds inside are firm, filled out, and dark brown." The seeds for bigtooth maple should be ready to collect in August or September, but you should continue to check their maturity. To break the dormancy, they should be cold stratified at 41° F in moist media, such as sphagnum moss or pearlite for approximately 90 days. When the seeds start to sprout, they should be planted in small containers. They can be transferred outdoors after danger of frost is past.

Both Jill Nokes and Utah State University have instructions for planting the seeds directly outdoors in the fall without stratification in prepared beds containing loose organic matter. The soil in beds needs to be moist but not wet.

The US Forest Service has more information about germinating bigtooth maple seeds.

 


 

More Propagation Questions

When is it safe to mow wildflowers in Castroville, TX?
May 26, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My yard in Castroville, TX sprouted many wildflowers early in April. By now the Blue Bonnets are seeded and gone. However, I still have a lot of Mexican Blankets. My husba...
view the full question and answer

Growing Sophora gypsophila from seed
April 23, 2008 - Sophora gypsophila B.L. Turner & Powell Do you have any information on growing this small tree from seed? I have a few seeds and would like to try. What conditions break seed dormancy? I have grown ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Eastern Redbud
March 25, 2005 - I have collected seeds from an Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis L.) and I want to learn how to germinate them. How can I find out this information?
view the full question and answer

Timing for planting wildflower seeds in the Pacific Northwest
November 27, 2009 - Do you think it is better to sow wildflower seeds in the Pacific NW in the Fall/early Winter or Spring?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of native plants by seed in Round Rock TX
February 26, 2011 - I'm trying to include more native and adapted low water use plants in the landscaping of my yard in Round Rock Texas. Due to a limited budget I've been collecting seeds from plants around the area ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center