En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Seed germination for sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

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
10 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

Can Live Oak suckers be mowed during Oak Wilt spread season in Austin?
April 12, 2010 - I live in South Austin, not too far from the Wildflower Center. I have a Live Oak in my yard with a substantial amount of sucker growth from the roots. Can I mow them freely throughout the year, or ...
view the full question and answer

Decline of indoor lemon cypress
June 25, 2008 - I received a lemon cypress as a gift. I have kept it indoors in bright light and tried to keep it moist. When I received the plant the foliage was soft and now it has become brittle and dry even tho...
view the full question and answer

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
view the full question and answer

Anacacho orchid tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) and the freeze in Austin
February 03, 2010 - I just wanted to say that your answer in today's Austin American-Statesman about recent freeze damage to Anacacho orchid trees was right on for ours as well. We're in north central Austin and all t...
view the full question and answer

Identity of fragrant oak-like leaves used at funeral
October 14, 2012 - In the early 1950's I attended my grandmother's funeral in the Southern West Virginia area. At the gravesite, the funeral home had provided what looked like dried oak leaves, (red brown and gold col...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center