How to Propagate Maple Trees


Maple trees are great for planting around your yard. They offer a nicely formed tree, pretty leaves that might change color in the fall, and gracefully falling seeds. There are many varieties, and most are propagated either by seeds or cuttings. The seeds won't be true to the plant they fell from, but if you take a cutting it will be. Maples have a few needs that you should be aware of for propagating.

Step 1

Take a softwood cutting from a growing maple tree that you would like to reproduce. A softwood cutting is a section of branch about 8 inches long with several leaves on it and from the current year's growth. Cut it at a 45 degree angle and remove the bottom leaves. Dip the end in rooting hormone powder, which you can purchase from garden centers. Then put the cutting in a plant pot filled with moist potting soil made of equal parts peat moss and sand. Cover with a clear plastic bag and let grow in a warm, 70-degree place for about four weeks or until it has some 2-inch roots.

Step 2

Place your collected maple tree seeds in some damp sphagnum moss and into a plastic bag. Close it, label with the date and contents and let sit in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for a year. Remove and plant in moist potting soil of equal parts sand and peat moss. Cover it with a clear plastic bag and let grow in a warm, 70-degree place for about four weeks or until you see new growth. Remove any plastic bag coverings once the plant starts showing green growth to prevent mildew or bacteria from growing.

Step 3

Transplant either the sprouted seed or the cutting into moist regular potting soil. Let it grow in a warm and sunny area without any coverings until the weather becomes warm outside. Be very careful not to disturb the soil around the roots when moving from one container to another.

Things You'll Need

  • Rooting powder
  • Potting soil with a one to one ratio of peat moss to sand
  • Potting soil (regular)
  • Pruning shears
  • Plastic bag
  • Sphagnum moss


  • Pacific Northwest Cooperative Extension: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees, and Vines with Stem Cuttings
  • Victoria Rhododendron Society: Germinating Maple Seeds
Keywords: maple tree, seed, softwood cutting, transplant

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.