Maple trees come in many varieties, sizes and colors, but they all offer a dramatic touch to landscaping, especially in the fall when they show off brilliant colors. If you enjoy the beauty of a maple tree, try planting your own from seed. Maple trees drop thousands of seeds in the fall, and they are a no-fuss seed to plant. You can plant them directly into the ground as soon as they drop from the tree, or you can give them a period of cold stratification indoors over the winter, and plant them in the spring.
Direct Sow In Fall
Gather your maple seeds off the ground in the fall, or directly off the tree. Maple seeds should be a brown color, not green.
Plant immediately in the ground. Select a spot that receives part shade and has good drainage.
Dig a hole in the ground that is at least 3 inches wide by 6 inches deep. Loosen the soil you dug out, and then put it back in the hole.
Pull the wing off the seed and lay it on the soil. Cover it with another 1/2 inch of soil and pat it down securely, but not too tight. Water until the soil is moist, and then let the soil dry out before watering it again. Cover the planting site with an inch of mulch, such as leaves or straw.
Place a plant marker or stake near the seedling, so you won't lose it in grass or weeds as it emerges.
Direct Sow In Spring
Find the last frost date for your planting area, and count backward on a calendar 100 days. This will be the date when you should begin stratifying your maple seeds, as many maple varieties need to go through a dormant cold period to germinate.
Place the seeds in a paper envelope and store them in the refrigerator. Do not keep them in a drawer that will trap moisture. Simply leave them on a shelf and they will be fine.
Dig a hole for the seeds as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Make the hole at least 3 inches wide by 6 inches deep. Replace the loosened soil into the hole, and bury the maple seed 1/2 inch down into the dirt.
Water lightly, and then do not water until soil dries again. There is no need to mulch if planting in the spring, as the soil is warming up and freezing temperatures should be gone for now.
Mark the planting site with a plant marker so you won't lose the plant in weeds or tall grass.
About this Author
A freelance writer for more than 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.