How to Start a Red Maple Tree


Red maple trees are commonly found in homes, parks and gardens, along roadsides and in commercial areas across the U.S., due to the fact that they are drought and disease resistant, and thus easy to grow and maintain. Botanically called acer palmatum atropurpureum, the red maple tree can be grown by seed, cutting or grafted to another variety. Start a red maple tree in your garden and enjoy the beautiful display of vibrant red color that it is famed for, especially in fall.

Step 1

Cut three to four fresh-grown branches from a healthy red maple tree in late spring, using sharp and clean pruning shears. Leave a few leaves on top of each cutting, trimming the remainder down to 8-inch stalks.

Step 2

Insert the cuttings in a container filled halfway up with water at room temperature and let them soak there for three to four hours.

Step 3

Add equal amounts of compost, good quality potting soil and peat moss in a large bucket and mix this planting mixture thoroughly with a stick. Take several terra cotta containers or flower pots that have adequate drainage holes in their base and fill them with potting mixture, until an inch below the rim. The number of containers you need depends on the number of cuttings you have. Ideally, you should use one cutting per single 6- to 8-inch-wide container.

Step 4

Lift each cutting from the container filled with water and dip the base in a commercial rooting hormone. Read label instructions to follow the specified time. Rooting hormone is easily available in most nurseries and garden supply centers.

Step 5

Hold the cutting in one hand and insert a pencil into the container filled with potting medium to make a 2- to 3-inch deep hole. This will prevent the rooting hormone on the cutting from rubbing away as you insert it into the medium. Lower the cutting into the hole and press the medium around it to remove any air bubbles or pockets.

Step 6

Water the container just enough to ensure the medium is evenly moist and place it in a warm and sheltered spot, away from direct sunlight or drafts. Water frequently to ensure the medium is moist. Fertilize every second or third week using a liquid fertilizer at half its recommended strength.

Things You'll Need

  • Red maple tree
  • Pruning shears
  • Container
  • Water
  • Compost
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Bucket
  • Stick
  • 6-inch wide terra cotta pot
  • Rooting hormone
  • Pencil
  • Liquid fertilizer


  • Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees and Vines with Stem Cuttings
  • colostate,edu: Propagating Trees and Shrubs
  • Japanese Red Maple Trees
Keywords: red maple tree, red maple cuttings, starting red maple trees

About this Author

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written hundreds of thousands of words for various online and print sources. She has an MBA in Marketing but her passion lies in giving her words wings.