How to Grow Trident Maple From Seed


The trident maple, also known as Acer buergeranum, is a medium-sized tree with dark green, glossy, three-lobed leaves that mature into bright shades of bronze and orange in the fall. It does well in poor soil and in dry conditions, and it is a good candidate for urban streets with its shallow root system. In the early fall you will see thousands of seeds floating down. You can collect these seeds and plant them to grow new trees.

Step 1

Place the trident maple seeds in a damp paper towel and fold it over three of four times, so that the seeds are well-surrounded in dampness. Place the folded paper towel in a plastic bag and put it in the back of your refrigerator for eight to 10 weeks. This is its resting time, and without it, it would probably never sprout.

Step 2

Take the seeds out of the paper towel carefully. Some of them may have already sprouted, so be careful not to break off the fragile roots. They should be ready at this stage to break out of their dormancy.

Step 3

Fill some small plant pots with a dampened lightweight potting soil, such as a mix of perlite and peat moss, that will hold moisture without getting too damp. Poke a 1-inch hole in the soil with the back of a pencil. Place the seed into the hole, allowing the winged part to stick out if still attached to the seed. Firm the soil back in around the seed.

Step 4

Water the planted seeds and place them in a sunny window in the early spring. You should see signs of growth within a few days. Typically, the trident maple is fast to grow once the seed has germinated. Water only when the soil is dry.

Step 5

Transplant the seedling outside to a prepared site when it is about 6 to 10 inches high. Keep as much of the soil around the roots as possible to minimize any shock to the plant. Trident maples are easy to transplant with their shallow root system.

Things You'll Need

  • Trident maple seeds
  • Paper towel
  • Potting soil
  • Plant pots
  • Plastic bag


  • University of Maryland: Pennsylvania Horticultral Society's Gold Medal Plants for 2000
  • University of Florida, IFAS Extension: Acer buergeranum: Trident Maple
  • Bonsai School: The Complete Course in Care, Training & Maintenance, by Craig Coussins, Sterling Publishing Company, 2006, Pg. 42..
Keywords: growing trident maple from seed, planting a trident maple, germinating trident maple seeds

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.