Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
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

Planting instructions for Ilex verticillata in Wisconsin
September 02, 2008 - We have a winterberry tree and we would like to grow another one in a different area. Can we transplant part of that or do we need to start from scratch? How would we know what the male plant looks li...
view the full question and answer

Information about moist stratification
September 07, 2010 - I have some seeds of scarlet leatherflower I'd like to try and I read the instructions under 'Propagation' in your Native Plant Database that say "Moist stratify at 41 degrees".. What does "...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Liatris elegans in Lubbock TX
October 14, 2010 - I am going to harvest several Liatris Elegans.I want to grow as many as possible out of what I harvest. What will be the best method? I have plenty of land at my home for growing these plants.I will ...
view the full question and answer

Making cuttings from purple sage in Austin, TX.
May 15, 2012 - I would like to plant additional purple sage for landscaping. May I do this with cuttings from an existing adult plant? If so, how and when would be the best method? I live in Lago Vista, TX
view the full question and answer

Can trimmings from non-native globe willows be planted from Broken Arrow OK?
June 13, 2010 - We have 2 globe willow trees in our back yard. We trim low hanging branches. Can we take these cut branches, -plant them and have it grow into a new globe willow tree?
view the full question and answer

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