About growing JM varieties from seed

Bonsai Nut

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Anyone with any experience growing a large number of Japanese Maples from seed? I know that the only way you can guarantee that a tree carries the same traits as its parent is to grow from a graft or a cutting. However what about seeds? Is it truly random whether you get a tree that carries the traits of the parent?

For example, if I get 100 seeds from an A. palmatum aratama, how many of the seedlings will look like a true aratama?
 

Sandcounty

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Nut, I don't have any answers right now, but am currently stratifying seeds from fourteen different varieties. I will post the results later in the spring (still winter here). I'm surprised that nobody has answered this thread. Sand
 

Bonsai Nut

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I've got 100 seeds in the fridge as we speak. It will be interesting to see if any actually pop. They are seeds of "Johnnie's Pink" so we'll see how many are true to the parent.
 

cbobgo

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well, none of them will be 100% true to the parent, because of the variation in genes with sexual reproduction.

However, it may be that a significant portion of them will only be different in minor, undetectable to the naked eye ways.

- bob
 

Brent

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Nut

There is really no way of knowing beforehand how closely the seedlings will resemble the parent. Remember, the mother tree is only half the equation. If the the tree is self pollinated, the seedlings MAY resemble the parent closely, but they also may not. There is one seedling strain of Acer palmatum (the name escapes me) that is notorious for the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of the offspring. Virtually no two are alike.

The real danger here is that somewhere along the line someone may forget that the offspring are seedlings and begin to call them by the cultivar names when they are not cultivars although they may look like it. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you are paying a premium for a grafted Japanese maple, don't you want to be sure that it really is the cultivar that is advertised? So, bottom line, be very careful what you call these seedlings and how you label them, so they can be clearly differentiated from the cultivar parent.

I would be interested in your's and Sandcounty's results since my experience with buying Japanese maple seed has been miserable. Usually the seed has been overly dried which induces a deep germination inhibitor that is often impossible to break. I have spent literally hundreds of dollars on JM seed with virtually no germination. I only begin having success when I started collecting my own seed in the fall just as ripens and pre treating it immediately. Seed treated this way results in a quite high germination rate. So, don't be shy about telling us, people need to know this.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 

Bonsai Nut

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I would be interested in your's and Sandcounty's results since my experience with buying Japanese maple seed has been miserable.
Well, I have never tried growing ANY bonsai from seed, so this will be my first year. I have a bunch of JBP in the fridge as well. I found it amusing that with the JM seeds I got germination instructions that said to cold stratify in the fridge for two weeks, then plant :) I'm not sure what my success rate would have been had I followed THOSE instructions... almost every source of info on the net contradicts each other.
 

Sandcounty

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I purchased my seeds from three different sources on ebay. All claimed they were freshly picked. One of the sellers sent me detailed instructions on how to prepare them. The instructions for different varieties varied quite a bit. soak, don't soak, a period of warmth before cold, or just cold. I'm not able to follow all directions exactly (time before spring), so we'll see. Sand
 

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