Japanese Maple Keys

_-ll-_

Seedling
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I have been waiting for 2 years for a good crop of Japanese Maple seeds (keys). Last year they didn't form because of the bad weather we had here in KY. This year I have collected plenty, after they fell off of the tree. I have them planted in trays all over the place. Is there anything I need to watch for so I'll get a good group of seedlings? I do not want to ruin this years crop and have to start over again.
 

Vance Wood

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Are we talking about Japanese Maples, or some other Maple?
 

capnk

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Our biggest problem with seedlings is the various varmints that love to eat them. Do you have some protection from mice, squirrels, birds, etc?
Good luck,
Chris
 

_-ll-_

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Oh yeah...Japanese Red Maple. I have one large tree in my yard, somewhere near 12 years old. It produced many keys this year. I have planted a lot of the keys in good starter soil and in a protected area. No worry about squirrels etc.
 

Vance Wood

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Oh yeah...Japanese Red Maple. I have one large tree in my yard, somewhere near 12 years old. It produced many keys this year. I have planted a lot of the keys in good starter soil and in a protected area. No worry about squirrels etc.

Are you certain the seeds are ripe? In my experience, in my climate, Japanese Maple seeds do not mature till early fall and then need a winter of stratification in order to germinate.
 

_-ll-_

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Good question. I do not know. Last year I planted a group of silver maple seeds in the early spring, just after they fell off the parent tree. They all came up and I have a lot of silver maples now. I presumed that these Japanese Maple keys would germinate in the same fashion. I could be wrong. I'll know soon enough, they will either germinate or not. _-ll-_
 

jferrier

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Japanese maples must be picked when they are ripe. Usually about Sept/Oct depending on where you are. Without cold stratification they won't germinate. Normally around 120 days in the fridge will do it. Stratifying outdoors may take years if you don't get a long period of cold winter temps.
 

Vance Wood

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Good question. I do not know. Last year I planted a group of silver maple seeds in the early spring, just after they fell off the parent tree. They all came up and I have a lot of silver maples now. I presumed that these Japanese Maple keys would germinate in the same fashion. I could be wrong. I'll know soon enough, they will either germinate or not. _-ll-_

Silver Maple will germinate soon after falling from the tree, usually in early June. Japanese Maples are different. They mature in the fall and need to stratify for a couple of months. Same is true of Tridents I believe.
 

_-ll-_

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Thanks for the information. I am a bit confused though. The keys are falling of the parent tree with the stems attached. I do not believe there will be any keys left on the tree soon. If this occurs I will not be able to pick "ripe" keys and stratify them. I have picked up a lot of fallen keys and have them drying and will stratify them when they are dry. I will see if this works. _-ll-_
 

Vance Wood

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Thanks for the information. I am a bit confused though. The keys are falling of the parent tree with the stems attached. I do not believe there will be any keys left on the tree soon. If this occurs I will not be able to pick "ripe" keys and stratify them. I have picked up a lot of fallen keys and have them drying and will stratify them when they are dry. I will see if this works. _-ll-_

Point is; they shouldn't be falling from the trees this early in the season if they are going to be viable. In my experience I have seen these seeds cling to the tree way after the first frost in the fall.
 

_-ll-_

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...makes a lot of sense... I believe you are right. Any idea what is making the keys fall off the parent tree connected to the stem? _-ll-_
 

elroy

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...makes a lot of sense... I believe you are right. Any idea what is making the keys fall off the parent tree connected to the stem? _-ll-_

Plants, including trees, produce a lot more flowers, and young fruits than they can manage. They abort the excess all through the season. Only the well filled keys, retained until the end of the season, will contain viable seeds.

Elroy
 

Vance Wood

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There is no reason to not plant the ones you already have, if they grow that's all the better. However; wait till after the first frost and pick the ones that are still on the tree, put them in the fridge and plant them in the spring. The fatter the seed the more likely it is good and will germinate.
 

_-ll-_

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Well...I have been patiently waiting for germination and have not seen any as of this date. I believe I have planted un-viable keys, just as you said. The parent tree still has a dozen or so keys attached and getting larger. ...bet your donkey I'll be watching them till fall and hopefully gather a few viable keys. By the way... I have air layered 4 branches on this parent tree and hope to get some new material soon. _-ll-_
 

Vance Wood

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...makes a lot of sense... I believe you are right. Any idea what is making the keys fall off the parent tree connected to the stem? _-ll-_

The same thing that makes for miscarriages in mammals, inviable embryos.
 

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