The silver maple, also known as the silverleaf maple, is a medium-sized tree that is most common to the Eastern United States, found growing near stream and river banks, in flood plains and around lake shores. The silver maple enjoys rapid growth and a long lifespan – many live 130 years or longer.
Although the silver maple’s seeds are abundant, planting silver maples from seed may be a long and difficult process because the seeds are more temperamental in germinating than cuttings. Cuttings of softwood root quickly and easily, making cuttings the propagation method of choice.
Take softwood cuttings from the silver maple in July or October, preferably in the early morning, using pruning shears or a sharp knife. Select new-growth shoots that you can snap easily when bent. Make sure your cuttings are 4-6 inches long.
Remove the leaves from the lower one-third to one-half of the cuttings. Treat the cuttings with rooting hormone.
Place the cuttings’ “raw” ends in a planter pot in a high-quality potting soil. Make sure that the cutting’s lower one-third to one-half is inserted into the soil. Water the soil thoroughly.
Cover the pot with a plastic bag to keep in moisture. Place the cuttings in indirect sunlight and mist them, keeping the soil moist at all times until they root.
Keep the cuttings in their rooting pot (if it’s large enough) or transplant them into a larger pot after they’ve rooted. If you’re planting multiple cuttings, be sure to space them at least 5-6 inches apart so that all the leaves have unobstructed access to the light.
Allow the cuttings to grow in the pot until the following spring. Make sure there is solid rooting and healthy, new growth before transplanting the silver maples outdoors.