Acer saccharum or nigrum seedling growth

hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)January 28, 2014

I have a packet of Acer nigrum seed ordered from Sheffield's. After about 50 days of stratification, 2 of the seeds have already sprouted little roots about a quarter inch long. The rest still appear dormant.

I potted them up and they're under a small CFL grow light in a fairly cool basement (65-67 during the day, around 55 at night), since placing them out in the 9 degree temps this morning didn't seem to be a good idea!

Questions for anyone who has grown them:

1. How long will it take from this point before I see the seedlings emerge above the soil?

2. Will this super-early start mess up their natural cycle of dormancy this fall?

3. Since Sugar Maple and it's variants are pretty shade tolerant as seedlings, if I transition these trees to the outdoors around early April and put them in the shade outside, will they be likely to acclimate OK to outdoor conditions? I don't want to burn them in the sun - but even my shadiest spots still get SOME sun, an hour or so at least.

4. About how much growth is realistic in the first season?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you potted up seedlings with 1/2 inch roots???? ... into what size pot ....

as to fall .... when sunlight begins to wane.. and temps fall.. if they are alive... they will go into dormancy naturally ... it has nothing to do with germination ...

when they go outside.. put them on the north side of a structure.. there should be no sun there ...


    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:16PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

They're in rootmaker cells - the 18/tray size. About 3.5" wide air-pruning pots. Maple roots are already pretty fibrous, but I had those handy so I figured I'd use them.

I'll probably stick them right in the ground once they're acclimated to outdoor conditions. I doubt they'll outgrow those pots in that timeframe (3 mos max?)

They're not really "seedlings" yet - just a seed with a radicle sticking out.

BTW I'm surprised I didn't get any anti-maple comments, Ken.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 1:02PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

You better be careful, Ken will be bumming the seedlings off of you before you know it. I hear he wants a nice maple for the hosta bed. (-:

The 3.5" posts will probably be OK for three months if they are deep enough.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:40PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Thanks, Ken and Brandon.

I've always liked black maple. However trees are hard to come by, so I figured I'd grow some from seed. The seeds are from a Tennessee source per Sheffield's, so should be pretty adaptable to my climate.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:53PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Ken didn't make a maple comment to lull you off guard while he calibrates and aims his Maple Death Ray Laser at you from Michigan. ;-)

Just kidding Ken. But we all know you would if you could. haha


    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 3:10PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I did see a strange bright pinpoint of light coming from the WNW...

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 3:17PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

One has broken the surface, and the other is not far behind.

Noticed today, parts of the unfolding cotyledons have this brownish or purplish cast. Not dried or dead, but discolored.

Could it be too much or too little light or water? Or just a natural thing not to worry about?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 7:39PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Both seedlings have this cast to them, but the cotyledons have opened up and the seedlings upright, so I presume they're fine.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 12:09PM
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Looks like a slight lack of chlorophyll. Many trees show this when leafing out, but the leaves turn completely green quite soon. Nothing to worry about.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:06PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I hope my indoor conditions will be OK for them. I wanted to wait until they could be planted outside, but were sprouting inside the bag in the refrigerator.

Oddly, the other 2 dozen or so seeds are not sprouting yet. Even now a couple weeks later.

They appear viable, since they're plump, plus several I peeled the samara off to expose the inner seed, which is plump and full...since I know sometimes A. saccharum (& presumably similar species like nigrum) produces empty samaras.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:44PM
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