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mittengardener
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Maple tree sprout

I have a silver maple tree sprouting in my yard. This is pretty typical since I have 2 mature silver maples. How do I ensure a sprout that comes up from a fallen helicopter gets established and continues to grow year after year?

Right now it is about 8 inches tall. It isn't in an ideal spot (right beside my front porch) so if I can get it to grow I would probably transplant it after it got bigger.

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hendi_alex
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Re: Maple tree sprout

I've had much better success in transplanting oak trees, dog wood trees, and maple trees, when lifting them as young seedlings. I lift the young plants and place them in a 1 gallon nursery pot. After that they are usually up potted to a 3 gallon nursery pot and after they get a few feet tall, they are moved to their permanent location in the ground. My nursery plants are kept in a morning sun only location so that heat and water stress are not a problem.

For yours, you may want to lift it now as the spring is the 2nd best time IMO to relocate a small tree. But if mine, I would wait until fall, lift and repot after the tree is dormant. You are so far north, I don't know whether the trees do well over winter in pots or not. If you have no experience with growing the trees in pot culture, you may want to ask someone at a local nursery.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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mittengardener
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Re: Maple tree sprout

hendi_alex wrote:I've had much better success in transplanting oak trees, dog wood trees, and maple trees, when lifting them as young seedlings. I lift the young plants and place them in a 1 gallon nursery pot. After that they are usually up potted to a 3 gallon nursery pot and after they get a few feet tall, they are moved to their permanent location in the ground. My nursery plants are kept in a morning sun only location so that heat and water stress are not a problem.

For yours, you may want to lift it now as the spring is the 2nd best time IMO to relocate a small tree. But if mine, I would wait until fall, lift and repot after the tree is dormant. You are so far north, I don't know whether the trees do well over winter in pots or not. If you have no experience with growing the trees in pot culture, you may want to ask someone at a local nursery.
Wow thanks for the advice! I do not have experience with growing trees in pots. Would the sapling die if I lifted it and planted it in a 1 gallon pot right now?

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hendi_alex
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Re: Maple tree sprout

If it is still early spring up your way, probably not. Just be sure to move the plant into the shade for a couple of weeks and then morning sun only or semi shade afterward. Some trees transplant easier than others. A dogwood transplanted in the spring is probably 50-50 as to whether or not it lives. Transplant the tree in the fall and it is probably more like a 90% chance of success. Maples are generally pretty easy to transplant. Don't think that I have ever lost one. So moving to a pot now would likely be o.k. Just keep the plant constantly moist, but not soggy for the next couple of weeks. Then avoid letting the tree dry out, and it should do fine.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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mittengardener
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Re: Maple tree sprout

hendi_alex wrote:If it is still early spring up your way, probably not. Just be sure to move the plant into the shade for a couple of weeks and then morning sun only or semi shade afterward. Some trees transplant easier than others. A dogwood transplanted in the spring is probably 50-50 as to whether or not it lives. Transplant the tree in the fall and it is probably more like a 90% chance of success. Maples are generally pretty easy to transplant. Don't think that I have ever lost one. So moving to a pot now would likely be o.k. Just keep the plant constantly moist, but not soggy for the next couple of weeks. Then avoid letting the tree dry out, and it should do fine.
Excellent. I might try that out this afternoon. If it dies I have a lot of other helicopters I can try again by planting one right into a pot. Here is a picture of the sapling!

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mittengardener
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Re: Maple tree sprout

Well, I went ahead and did it!

I didn't have a 1 gallon pot, but I did have a 3 gallon. I started by mixing 1/2 native soil and 1/2 all-purpose potting mix in the pot. Then I dug up the sapling and tried to keep the root inside the soil it had been growing in. I noticed the bottom of the root was hanging from the bottom of the dirt..about 2 inches exposed. I think it'll be ok. I put the sapling in the pot and patted down the soil in the pot firmly since the soil it had been growing in was quite compact and clumpy.

Then I watered it thoroughly and put it in the shadiest part of my yard where moss is growing.

I'll be sure to keep the soil moist. I wonder if/when I should stake it?

Fingers crossed!

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hendi_alex
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Re: Maple tree sprout

I've never had to stake one in a pot, but never let them stay in the pot beyond about three feet, so no real need for staking.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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mittengardener
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Re: Maple tree sprout

hendi_alex wrote:I've never had to stake one in a pot, but never let them stay in the pot beyond about three feet, so no real need for staking.
That's good to know.

How long have you found it takes these things to get to 3 feet? Are they fast growers? If this tree gets to 3 feet by the fall should I plant it before winter or wait until Spring?

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hendi_alex
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Re: Maple tree sprout

I've lifted red oak seedlings and left them in a three gallon pot for three years or longer and they still were only about three feet at that time. One of my red oak transplants has been in the ground for at least three years and is still under three feet tall. A maple will develop much quicker though. I don't think that I've ever left a maple in the pot over a couple of years. It seems that the last I planted out of a pot was probably 3-4 feet tall when it went in the ground. I have probably a dozen trees around the yard that were transplanted from volunteer seedlings: oaks, maples, dogwoods, and hickory.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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mittengardener
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Re: Maple tree sprout

hendi_alex wrote:I've lifted red oak seedlings and left them in a three gallon pot for three years or longer and they still were only about three feet at that time. One of my red oak transplants has been in the ground for at least three years and is still under three feet tall. A maple will develop much quicker though. I don't think that I've ever left a maple in the pot over a couple of years. It seems that the last I planted out of a pot was probably 3-4 feet tall when it went in the ground. I have probably a dozen trees around the yard that were transplanted from volunteer seedlings: oaks, maples, dogwoods, and hickory.
So would you suggest planting in spring or fall after I've hit 3 feet?

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hendi_alex
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Re: Maple tree sprout

Most people recommend fall planting as the best time. I prefer spring planting. Just give enough water to keep the plant lightly damp for the first couple of years. That seems to me to be one big difference between a volunteer plant growing where it sprouts versus where it is moved. The volunteer would almost never need any help with watering. I think that when we plant, the disrupting of the soil layers must make the plant much more vulnerable to drying and water stress. Of course I'm in almost 100% sand on the top of a very dry hill, quite a different story from those who are in clays or rich loams where watering is not nearly as much of a chore.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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mittengardener
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Re: Maple tree sprout

hendi_alex wrote:Most people recommend fall planting as the best time. I prefer spring planting. Just give enough water to keep the plant lightly damp for the first couple of years. That seems to me to be one big difference between a volunteer plant growing where it sprouts versus where it is moved. The volunteer would almost never need any help with watering. I think that when we plant, the disrupting of the soil layers must make the plant much more vulnerable to drying and water stress. Of course I'm in almost 100% sand on the top of a very dry hill, quite a different story from those who are in clays or rich loams where watering is not nearly as much of a chore.
Thanks!

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mittengardener
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Re: Maple tree sprout

I believe I found a sugar maple sprouting up this morning. It is only about 2" tall right now, but the stem is red and the leaves are a glossy green/red. If I want to move this to a pot should I treat it the same way I treated the silver maple? Should I move it to a pot now or wait until it is larger, like the silver maple?

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