The red maple tree lives its life, most of the year, as a mild-mannered, green-leaved tree. As soon as summer's temperatures begin to dip toward fall, however, the red maple turns into a flaming ball of vibrant red foliage. The red maple can get large, with a 40-foot spread and up to 60 feet in height, so if you are looking for a shade tree, this just might be the one for you. Red maple trees are hardy to USDA zones 3 to 9.
Cut an 8-inch branch from the red maple tree. Choose one that is firm, has mature leaves and one or more nodes. The nodes are bumps, or swellings on the branch, often where a leaf is or was attached. Remove all leaves from the bottom third of the branch.
Dip the cut end of the twig into the rooting hormone, tapping it on the side of the jar to remove the excess. Ron Smith, horticulturist at North Dakota State University, suggests using IBA rooting hormone.
Combine equal parts of sphagnum peat moss and perlite and pour it into the planting pot. Water the medium well and allow the excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot.
Poke a hole, using a pencil, into the soil and place the cut end of the branch into the hole. Make sure that you bury at least two nodes under the soil.
Place the potted cutting, in a shady area, on the heat mat and set the temperature to 70 degrees F.
Mist the cutting at least twice a day. If the soil begins to dry, mist that as well. Your cutting should root within five weeks.