How to Propagate a Japanese Maple Tree


A Japanese maple tree can be grafted in two ways: seeding and grafting. Of the two, grafting produces the best results. Grafting takes an established root from a particular growing region and binds it with the Japanese maple tree branch. Grafting ensures that the growing tree receives the necessary nutrients from the soil to sustain what would otherwise be a fragile and temperamental tree in some environments.

Step 1

Obtain scion wood from a healthy tree. Young trees produce the most vigorous growth and are ideal for grafting. For best results, collect the scion wood while the trees are dormant in the wintertime.

Step 2

Cut the scion wood branches into 6-inch strips. Wax both ends of the sticks with paraffin wax to lock in the wood's oils and moisture.

Step 3

Wrap the bundles in wet newspaper with a hint of anti-fungicide, such as tea tree oil, and place in plastic bags in the refrigerator while deciding upon the established tree to use for propagation. Do not keep them in the refrigerator for longer than two months.

Step 4

Determine the tree for propagating. Healthy maple trees that are 3 to12 inches in diameter at breast height are ideal for propagating. Three grafts can typically be done on each main branch.

Step 5

Prepare the tree for grafting by removing 60 to 70 percent of the limbs with a saw. Leave 1 foot of the limbs remaining on the tree. For best results and to prevent splitting, saw from the bottom of the limb until the saw binds and then do the final cuts from the top.

Step 6

The most common cut for maple grafting is the inlay bark graft. The scion can be prepared for this graft by cutting one side of the basil end to a long, straight bevel. Remove the remaining course bark from the crown of the scion, being careful not to damage the wood underneath.

Step 7

Place the scion alongside the tree's branch and use a knife to trace where the scion will be grafted. Make cuts into the bark equal to the width of the scion. Gently lift the bark and insert the scion. Fasten the scion by wrapping tightly with the rubber budding tape.

Step 8

Leave the tape in place for three to six weeks or until the new graft begins to bud fresh growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Scions
  • Paraffin wax
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic bags
  • Anti-fungicide such as tea tree oil
  • Rootstalk
  • Razor-sharp grafting knife
  • 1/2-inch clear polyethylene budding tape


  • Grafting Japanese Red Maple
  • Frequently Asked Propagation Questions
  • Maple Propagation
Keywords: propagate maple, reliable maple propagation, propagate established root

About this Author

Ann White is a freelance journalist with prior experience as a Corporate and Business Attorney and Family Law Mediator. She has written for multiple university newspapers and has published over 300 articles for publishers such as EHow and Garden Guides. White earned her Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.