Crimson King Maple Tree Seeds
If you own maple trees you’re sure to have noticed, even cursed, the “helicopter” seeds. They fall all over threatening to grow a tree every where they land… as if we didn’t have enough to weed.
I’ve walked by our Crimson King Maple Tree thousands of times without ever noticing a hint of seed or seedling. It wasn’t until last year, when I started learning about tree and shrub propagation, that I started looking more closely at our majestic deep red Crimson King.
Its a beautiful maple tree, soaring 40 feet in the air, filling the sky with gorgeous crimson leaves. Crimson Kings have been wildly popular in cities because of their tolerance to pollution, so its not hard to find one. Some people in the gardening forums dislike the Crimsons because of their darker color, and because they are full and draw a lot of dense shade, making it difficult to grow anything underneath. I agree, it’s important to plant it in the right spot, usually away from the house… but we have one right in front, and every year its gorgeous.
Last autumn, I went hunting to collect seeds and came up dry and disappointed. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. Maybe this tree doesn’t make many seeds. Maybe they were all eaten up by the squirrels.
This week was the third time I went out to the tree, looking for buds, wondering when new growth would come, when I noticed something bright green standing out from the grass. It only took a moment to figure out what it was, and when I looked around, I was delighted to find hundreds of little seedlings sprouting up… ALL over the front yard. I must have mowed these little gems down year after year without even a thought. I love these little surprises and was so pleased with my ‘gift’. No seed collecting or storage. No stratification, germination or any other shuns to mess with. They just grew.
I figure I better grab them before they’re so big I’m leaving craters. So there I am, digging in the middle of the front yard, neighbors questioning. I hadn’t even gotten a quarter of the way around the maple tree before I collected 98 of these little seedlings. They lift pretty easily but its a careful process as the roots are tender.
I found a deep container, drilled some extra drainage holes near the bottom and planted them in 3″ apart. Works for now. If I were to collect them all, I’d have almost 400 new Crimson King Seedlings! Good thing we have a big yard.
I’ve read that Crimson King’s may not always come true from seed, that the leaves might have a muddy reddish green color if not propagated by grafting. Time will tell.
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