Japanese red maple from root cutting?

mzkristaMarch 18, 2007


Has anyone had any success starting a new Maple plant from a root cutting? I took a root cutting from near the parent root and hoping it will root. If it is not possible how do you start a new japanese maple? Seed? I would like to start off small because I would like a small plant for interest using this for a bonsai. It is very hard to find a Japanese red maple very small around in nurserys. Does anyone know where I can order safely online Japanese Red Maple seeds, if it is not possible to start from a root cutting? Thank you! Mzkrista

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brent_walston(zone 8 No. CA)


Starting Japanese maples, Acer palmatum, is virtually impossible from root cuttings. Stem cuttings are possible but difficult.

Acer palmatum cultivars (named varieties) are most often propagated by grafting, although you can occasionally find cutting grown material. Cutting grown is far superior to grafts for bonsai because it eliminates the ugly graft union problem.

For red Japanese maples, the situation is slightly different. These are a recogonized seed strain, so they can in fact be grown from seed if you have a reliable source of consistently uniform seedlings. These are not cultivars and cannot carry the cultivar name, but are denoted by:

Acer palmatum var atropurpureum

These actually don't make very good bonsai. The leaves don't reduce well and the internodes (space between the leaves) are long. They also don't stand up to wind and sun as well as the green seedling species Acer palmatum.

Your best source of seed is to collect it yourself in the fall just as the seed ripens, usually in the month of Oct in the northern hemisphere. Most seed sources overly dry the seed which makes it very hard to germinate.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 1:29PM
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Thank you Brent,
I thought it may be easy but I guess it wont work. I took the root cutting off the parent root and put it it hormone powder and then in soil. Is it ever going to grow? Or should I just pitch the planted root and soil? I read up on root cuttings and the authour said it was easy to grow certain plants, but he didn't mention any maples so I guess some plants and tree's make it but maples wont? Mzkrista

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 3:58PM
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brent_walston(zone 8 No. CA)


Pitch it. It would be a minor miracle if it rooted. Put your efforts elsewhere. A big however though, is that Japanese maples are extremely easy to airlayer, so check out that option. Airlayering is even easier than doing stem cuttings.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 7:54PM
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If the parent plant is readily accessable, you may want to try air layering a good looking branch, instead of seed or cuttings.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 11:28AM
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