Crimson King Maple Seeds: Part 3

Oct. 11, 2010

Early this spring, I found a ton of crimson king maple tree seedlings sprouting all over the front yard. I dug them up and hoped to raise beautiful Crimson King Maple trees. The 40 that I collected had a great start but over the course of the summer, only 4 made it. No good. Here’s what I learned from my effort.

  • Crimson King Maple Trees are hard to raise from seed.
  • Crimson King Maple Trees do not come true from seed.
  • I can expect 10% of the seedlings that sprout to actually be crimson.
  • Even if seedlings are crimson, they may revert back to green after a year or two.
  • Young seedlings need protection from hot sun.
  • Young seedlings will rot under a mist system over long periods of time.

Since there is so little information on propagating Crimson King Maple Trees, I’ll just have to try a little of everything and document my discoveries.

Fall sowing of Crimson King Maple Tree Seeds.

So lets try seeds one more time, with a few corrections.

Last time, while taking extreme care not to damage young roots, I still disturbed them by digging the seedlings out of tough dirt. Since they did very well early in the season, early digging is probably not the biggest factor in a low success rate. To be safe I’ve decided to fall sow some seeds in individual pots in a cold greenhouse. This way everything is controlled, with low light to emulate the darker environment under the original tree.

Funny I found a box the exact fit. Probably wont last the winter, but I couldnt resist.
crimson king maple tree seeds

crimson king maple tree seeds

crimson king maple tree seeds

I didnt prepare them in any way, not even cut the ends off, just put them in the pots and covered them with about an 1/8th inch of soil.

Even as seeds, you can see that some are more crimson than the rest. Even though Im not sure they’ll sprout red and stay red, common sense tells me to sow those 😀

Coarse sand was added to potting mix for better drainage and less chance of rotting when spring comes.

Since they’re in such little pots that dry out quickly, I covered the flat with plastic to keep it humid.

If they sprout and establish roots, I’ll keep them in the greenhouse with no direct sunlight. When a good root system is established, theyll come out of the greenhouse and be placed in a shady spot until they fill into their pots.


Hardwood cuttings of Crimson King Maple.

Hardwood cuttings can be taken from December to February when the ground is not frozen. They can either be planted out in a bed, or cuttings can be bundled and buried upside down, in a hole 10″ deep located in full sun. Pull them out in the spring and plant them out in a bed. [McGroarty]

Softwood cuttings of Crimson King Maple.

Softwood cuttings can be taken in June. Take “healthy, firm wooded stock, with mature leaves, that have either a single or multiple nodes” dipped in rooting compound, stuck in 50/50 peat/perlite, and placed under continuous mist. [Dirr]

Posts in this series:
Crimson King Maple Tree Seeds Part 1

Crimson King Maple Trees Seeds Part 2

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11 Responses to “Crimson King Maple Seeds: Part 3”

  1. How much is a seedbox?

  2. Trisha says:

    Even though theres been much demand on this blog, I havent decided to sell the seeds… yet. Until I figure out how to successfully propagate this tree and have all the instructions for good results, I think it would be irresponsible to try to sell them to you guys.

    I’ve done one test from seed, with poor results. This will be my second. I may have hardwood cuttings to sell and softwood cuttings with (possibly without) roots, for you in the future. But again, I feel strongly about testing first so you have the information necessary to keep them growing strong.

  3. Hi says:

    Saddle graft or stab graft crimson king cuttings onto 2-0 norway maple root stock during bud break, amazing results, and the only true way to gaurantee crimson king color. I have tried the seed planting and digging small sapling, 99% have gone to green color at 2-5 years, with 1 tree that is still crimson at 10 years. Grafting is no fail and really easy to do. Or you can just graft onto the crimson kings that have turned green. good luck.

    • Trisha says:

      hey thanks for the information! just was gifted a whole bag of grafting rubber bands, so this is next. Hopefully I’ll have some stock from the fall sowing. Just did some research on grafting and the saddle cut you recommended, it does look easy! thanks again.

  4. iMac says:

    Stumbled into this website by chance but I’m sure glad I clicked on that link. You positively answered all the questions I have been dying to answer for some time now. Will definitely come back for more of this. Thank you so much

  5. Sheri says:

    So….It’s been quite a long time…..did it work? If not…did anything else work? I have been trying for years and it depresses me every time.

    • Trisha says:

      Me too Sheri, Ive tried seeds numerous times, Ive tried softwood cuttings many times, and it still baffles me. Four from the original batch are still alive and growing (slowly) Its quite possible they take two years to germinate, though I havent looked into it any further.

  6. Nate says:

    Hi, I am also curious as to a follow up. I came across this website while looking to buy a crimson maple for my back yard. Did any make it?

    • Trisha says:

      Nate, Your best bet is to buy a larger tree. I have no idea how they get these trees started, or where they keep them for so many years. Theyre really a slow growing tree. But you know, gorgeous.

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