Last year I told you about the Japanese maples that grew naturally from underneath a tree at my parent’s house. I over wintered young trees in my garden shed (see the April Video update) and have been taking care of them here in our garden. The other day I transferred the Japanese maple seedlings from the shed because it was getting way too hot inside and moved the little trees to a raised plant holding bed I built out of reclaimed lumber. The 38 Japanese maple trees are doing great! Right now I have them in small pots which eventually will need to be upgraded as the root systems grow. I covered the bed with an old screen door to prevent rabbits from damaging the little trees.
These were all grown by mother nature but should you try to grow Japanese maple trees from seed remember that the seeds require a period of cold stratification. Putting the seeds in a plastic bag of moist sand in the refrigerator for about three months will work. Then plant the seeds outside and watch them grow! I haven’t tried this but I suspect if you have cold enough winters simply planting the seedlings in an unused bed in the fall will get you the stratification you need. Stratifying the seeds yourself will probably improve germination rates though.
Depending on the variety of Japanese maple you select the seedlings may not come true to the parent plant. Some varieties come true while others don’t. In the picture above you’ll notice that the coloring is different between seedlings. The trees that have received more consistent sunlight have developed the red tints while the others are more green.