Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
11 ratings

Saturday - December 15, 2007

From: Manhattan, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Seed germination for sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

How can I germinate sugar maple?(step by step, please) I have some seeds but can't make them grow directly outside, so could you recommend a method which takes place inside?! I've heard something about refrigerating or freezing the seeds.

ANSWER:

The seeds of the sugar maple, Acer saccharum, require a period of cold to break the physiological dormancy of the seeds so that they will germinate. This occurs naturally if the seed falls outdoors in its native range. It experiences the winter cold and germinates in the warm spring. Not all the seeds manage to germinate, however, so the tree's strategy is to produce an overabundance of seeds to ensure that it does produce some offsprings. If you take the seeds and treat them under controlled conditions you can increase the germination success significantly. To do this, however, you need to simulate the winter cold by a process called cold stratification. So, here is the process, step by step:

1. Soak the seeds 24 to 48 hours in room temperature water.

2. Cold stratify the seeds (see instructions for cold stratification in Seed Germination Guidelines) for approximately 3 months at 1° to 8 °C (~34° to ~46° F)—the optimum temperature for germination appears to be 1° C (34° F).

3. After the stratification period, you can plant the seeds in the ground or in pots to be transplanted later to the area you choose. You can read more details under "Tips on Sowing and Seedlings" in Seed Germination Guidelines.

You can read a detailed treatise on Acer sachharum by the U. S. Forest Service.


Acer saccharum
 

More Trees Questions

Treating scarred Gum Bumelia from Lampasas TX
June 05, 2013 - We have a very old Gum Bumelia with a scarred open tree trunk. In the past concrete was used to fill the scarred trunk. What is the acceptable method of helping the tree. More concrete or using blac...
view the full question and answer

Selection of native trees to replace trees lost in hurricane
September 28, 2008 - Hello, I have a tree replacement list I must choose from as I live in a HOA deeded area. I lost 2 pines to the hurricane. And according to them I need to replace with 2 large trees. The pines were 15 ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for barn from Washington TX
April 27, 2013 - We live on a large ranch and have someone now next to us that built a barn on our fence line that we want to make a tree barrier to hide it, so we need to plant trees that will grow at least 15-29 fee...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Bauhinia lunarioides
May 29, 2008 - I have a Bauhinia variegata..when is the best time to prune it? it tends to grow horizontally..where do you clip off the limbs?
view the full question and answer

Alder native to Central Indiana
May 30, 2006 - I am trying to find out whether there exists a plant named Alnus rugosa. I bought a plant recently that said Speckled Alder, Alnus serrulata (rugosa), but have been unable to determine if this is a c...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.