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
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

Is mulch from hackberry and chinaberry trees safe for flowerbeds?
September 17, 2014 - We had to remove several large hackberry and china berry trees. Is its mulch safe to use in garden and in flower beds?
view the full question and answer

Trees with non-invasive roots or tops in Newhall CA
November 07, 2011 - We would like to plant a tree with noninvasive roots near our garden wall and concrete driveway in a grassy area in the front yard facing west. This spot is very sunny in the afternoon with automatic ...
view the full question and answer

Sap oozing from trunks of Cherry Laurels in Austin, TX
January 24, 2015 - I have several mature compact cherry laurels whose leaves are beginning to turn yellow. They are in raised beds, have been properly fertilized, have compost spread around them, and are properly water...
view the full question and answer

Why is my Ash drooping?
June 22, 2009 - Last spring, I bought a house in Austin, TX with a large Ash tree in the front yard. It looked fine last year, but has been looking funny since it leafed out this spring. It's as if the leaves are we...
view the full question and answer

Is Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay) a major nectar source for honeybees?
January 31, 2015 - Is the Sweetbay Magnolia a major nectar source for honeybees?
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