Japanese Maple (acer palmatum)
Seed Prices -Fresh crop November 2022
1 gram (approx 44 seeds) £1.75
2 grams(approx 88 seeds) £2.30
5 grams (approx 220 seeds) £4.10
10 grams (approx 440 seeds) £6.30
25 grams (approx 1100 seeds) £12.50
Please note that these seeds require a minimum of 16 weeks stratification before they will germinate. For a March 1st sowing this should begin around November 9th -further information detailed below
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Japanese Maple has been cultivated in Japan for many centuries and many different cultivars of great beauty have been selected. Plant hunters began to send the newly discovered trees back to the rest of the temperate world from the early 1800s. The first specimen of the tree reached England in 1820.
They are generally easy to cultivate and succeed in most soils, preferring a good moist well-drained soil on the acid side and partial shade. They also grow well in heavy clay soils but not in saturated soggy ones.
The natural species grows faster and larger than the selected garden cultivars. They need more room than you would expect and can grow up to 20m (60ft). They respond well to pruning and can readily cope with having their height controlled in this way.
Requires some shelter in the cooler areas and benefit greatly from protection from cold drying winds. Plants are hardy to about -25°c but spring growth is tender and can be vulnerable to damage by late frosts.
Most of the resulting seedlings will typically have green summer foliage that turns scarlet red during the Autumn. Even in nature the Japanese Maple displays considerable genetic variation, with seedlings from the same parent tree typically showing differences in such traits as leaf size, shape, and colour.
Germination, Sowing and After Care Information for
Japanese Maple (acer palmatum)
First prepare a free draining substrate into which the seeds are to be mixed, this can be a 50/50 mixture of compost and sharp sand, or perlite, vermiculite. The chosen substrate needs to be moist (but not wet), if you can squeeze water out of it with your hand it is too wet and your seeds may drown and die. Mix the seeds into the substrate, making sure that their is enough volume of material to keep the seeds separated.
Place the seed mixture into a clear plastic bag (freezer bags, especially zip-lock bags are very useful for this -provided a little gap is left in the seal for air exchange) If it is not a zip-lock type bag it needs to be loosely tied.
Write the date on the bag so that you know when the pre-treatment was started.
First the mixed seeds need to placed somewhere warm at around 20 Celsius for around 17 weeks or so -it is not critical if it is a little longer than this. Make sure that the seed and compost mixture does not dry out or the pre-treatment will be ineffective.
Next the seeds are required to undergo a cold period to break the final part of the dormancy, this is easily achieved by placing the bag of seeds and compost in the fridge at (4 Celsius or 39F) for a further 17 weeks. When the dormancy has broken it is quite possible for the seeds to germinate in the bag at these temperatures when they are ready to do so, if they do, just remove them from the bag and carefully plant them up.
When the period of pre-treatment has finished the seed should be ready to be planted. Small quantities can be sown in pots or seed trays filled with a good quality compost and cover them with a thin layer of compost no more than 1 cm deep. For larger quantities it is easiest to sow the seeds in a well prepared seedbed outdoors once the warm and cold pre-treatments have finished and wait for the seedlings to appear.
It has also been found that fluctuating pre-treatment temperatures can give the best germination results and I have myself had excellent results by keeping the mixed seeds in a cold shed through the winter for the cold stage of their pre-treatment and allowing the temperature to fluctuate naturally. Ungerminated seeds can have the whole warm and cold process repeated again to enable more seeds to germinate.
Do not expose newly sown seeds to high temperatures (above 25 Celsius). Keep the seedlings well watered and weed free.
Growth in the first year is usually between 10 and 40 cm depending on the time of germination and cultural techniques and developing seedlings are usually trouble free. Allow them to grow for 1 or 2 years before planting them in a permanent position.