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Acer (rubrum)

John M. Englert
USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center
Bldg. 509, BARC - East, E. Beaver Dam Road
Beltsville, Maryland 20705
(301) 504-8175
(301) 504-8741 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Aceraceae
Family Common Name: Maple Family
Scientific Name: Acer rubrum
Common Name: Red maple
Species Code: ACERUB
Ecotype: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Oxon Run Parkway, Shenandoah National Park, George Washington Memorial Parkway
General Distribution: Quebec to Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas. Grows under a wide variety of conditions, from dry mountain tops to moist woods and swamps.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Plug + (container-field grown hybrids)
Time To Grow: 0
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Bare root seedling, container saplings. Height: Bare root: 4-24"; 3 gallon containers: 72". Root System: National Plant Materials Center containers are treated with Spin Out (a copper hydroxide compound used to prevent root spiraling and encourage feeder root development). Root balls fill containers without being pot-bound or extending through drainage holes.
Propagule Collection: Collected at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, FHP, Little River Rd., 441 S, below Lower Alum Cave parking area by National Park Service staff in 6/94, 5/95 and 4/97; Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Old Wilderness Road, Sugar Run, Hensley Cemetery, LMU Campus (many collections were made since 1991) by J. Copeland yearly between 4/19 and 5/12; Shenandoah National Park, Jenkins Gap, Lands Run, Mile 3.4 Skyline Drive by National Plant Materials Center staff, yearly between 5/3 and 5/25; George Washington Memorial Parkway Southbound Parkway, Rte. 123 exit by J. Englert in 5/96, J. Kujawski.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: Not a lot of processing is needed; generally seeds are fairly clean. Bits of stem and other chaff may be hand picked from seed lots.
Seeds/Kg: Varies from park to park, 15,400 -19,000.
Germination: Untracked.Purity: 80-99%.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seed Treatments: None.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Seeds are germinated upon receipt from the National Park Service in the greenhouse on blotter paper and under mist.

Seed Propagation Method: Hand.

Container Type and Volume: Ropak multipots, quarts, 1/2 gallon, 1,2,3 gallons for specimen and miscellaneous container plants.

Growing Media: Germinated on desk blotter paper, transferred into Sunshine #5 plus 180 day Nutricote SR 18-6-8 at 20 oz. per batch or 0.15 lb. per cu. ft. mix. Larger container plants are potted in a woody mix (3.8 cu ft. bale Sunshine #1, 4 cu. ft. of pine bark mulch, 20 oz. 270 day Nutricote and approximately 20 oz. endo-mycorrhizae).
Establishment Phase: Sowing Date: May or June when seeds are collected.

% Emergence and Date: Germination of seed has not been tracked since very large numbers are spread out on several sheets of desk blotter under mist and only the germinated seeds are planted. Germination starts in 3-5 days.

Sowing/Planting Technique: Seeds are spread out on blotter paper under mist in the greenhouse upon arrival from the park. Germinated seedlings can be picked out and planted in containers (Ropak multipots) with just enough media to cover. Planting depth appears important, as seedlings in one container were planted at about 3/4" to 1" deep never did catch up in size to those more shallowly sown.

In May, 2000, germinated seedlings were planted directly into the woody beds rather than into multipots. These had attained the same growth by harvest as greenhouse-started plugs that were lined out during the summer.

Establishment Phase: Greenhouse: Seedlings spend about 2 months in the greenhouse or outdoors in a protected area prior to outplanting and are fertilized weekly to bi-weekly with a water soluble fertilizer. Slow release fertilizer is important as using water-soluble only has not promoted fast growth required for outplanting the same season.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid Growth Phase: Seedlings in multipots are transplanted to the National Plant Materials Center woody beds when they can be pulled from the containers (about 60 days from sowing).
Woody beds: Because National Plant Materials Center soil is a nutrient poor sandy loam, transplanted seedlings are fertilized from mid-April with a granular 10-10-10 once a week through early June. From mid-June through late July, the 10-10-10 is alternated with a granular urea every other week. From late July through late August the seedlings are fertilized with 10-10-10 every two weeks. Overhead irrigation is used after every fertilization. The rate of water applied is determined by soil moisture prior to irrigation.
Hardening Phase: Hardening Phase: Seedlings in containers are hardened for about 2 weeks outdoors prior to outplanting in the woody beds.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: 2 years to harvest as bare root seedlings; 3 additional years to reach 3 gallon container size.

Harvest Date: Dormant bareroot plants are harvested in early to mid-December.

Storage Conditions: Bareroot plants are bundled into groups of manageable size, and long roots are trimmed. Bundles are placed into plastic bins; roots are covered with sawdust. Bins are placed into a cold storage room (40§F) and watered as needed during the winter. Gallon size container plants are stored outside. Containers are laid on their side on weed barrier fabric, and covered with 2 layers of a microfoam insulating blanket. The blanket is secured over plants by threading a rope over the blanket between rebar anchors on either side of a block of plants.

Seed storage: Seed is germinated or planted upon arrival at the National Plant Materials Center or very shortly after. If seed cannot be planted immediately, it is put into a cooler for short-term (only a few days) storage.

Seed dormancy: None.
Length of Storage: <b>Storage Duration:</b> December toMarch.
References: Brown and Brown. 1992. Woody Plants of Maryland. Port City Press, Inc.

Gleason, H and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd edition. New York Bot. Garden.

USDA NRCS National Plant Materials Center. Woody bed and container plant records. Unpublished data.


Davis, Kathy M.; Kujawski, Jennifer. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of Plug + (container-field grown hybrids) Acer rubrum plants USDA NRCS - Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center Beltsville, Maryland. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/05/08). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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