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Acer (circinatum)

USDA NRCS - Corvallis Plant Materials Center
3415 NE Granger Ave
Corvallis, Oregon 58413

Family Scientific Name: Aceraceae
Family Common Name: Maple family
Scientific Name: Acer circinatum Pursh
Common Name: vine maple
Species Code: ACCI
Ecotype: Three accessions were collected from Mount Rainier National Park along Highway 123 and Highway 410 on the east side of the park in elevations ranging from 2700 to 3800 feet. All 3 accessions behaved similarly during propagation.
General Distribution: Northwestern US, including Alaska and northern California, mostly west of the Cascade Mountain Range. At our collection sites at Mount Rainier; none were found above 3900 feet. Plants occur both in understory of mixed conifers as a small tree, or in openings and cut-over clearings as multistem shrubs.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 1-gallon 2-year seedlings
Time To Grow: 2 Years
Target Specifications: One or more well-developed main stems; root mass filling container. Stems cut back to equal not more than 2x height of container at shipping
Propagule Collection: Ripened samaras collected at fall color-change from late August to early September - seeds allowed to dry out on tree may be harder to germinate, though viable
Propagule Processing: Seeds not processed or removed from samaras; entered immediately into stratification; maples in general are known for recalcitrant seeds (meaning they may enter deep dormancy once allowed to dry cure) No attempt was made to store seeds for longer term.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Collected seeds with attached samaras immediately placed in damp peat moss for 150 + days of cold moist stratification; or sown directly into flats with a rich propagation medium (high in peat moss) and placed in lathhouse at Corvallis OR in September for natural stratification.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Germinated seedlings were transplanted after 1st true leaf developed, from March to April, into 10 cu inch RayLeach Cone-tainers with a medium-textured soil-less greenhouse mix amended with a balanced micronutrient mix (Micro-Max). In an earlier project; soil collected from the understory was added to the medium to provide myccorhizal inocula; however colonization was not known to occur, and the addition of micronutrients to a soil-less mix resulted in healthy plants.
Establishment Phase: Seedlings were fertilized with a balanced NPK greenhouse fertilizer (Peter's Triple-20) at 2 to 4 week intervals. Powdery Mildew and Pseudomonas leaf spot were both problems; chemical controls used were Benlate and Kocide drenches at label rates. Any diseased / decaying foliage should be removed immediately and good air circulation provided around plants.
Length of Establishment Phase: 6 to 12 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Transplanted into ribbed 1-gallon containers filled with soil-less greenhouse mix of Sunshine #1 (Fisons' Horticultural products) amended with peat moss and horticultural vermiculite, and Micromax micronutrient mix in late may / early June. Plants at this stage required little insect or disease control at Corvallis; 1-gallon pots were held outdoors in a shade hoop house with 40% shade; drip irrigation supplied to each pot kept foliage dry and healthy. Half-strength solutions of Peters Triple-20 NPK fertilizer was applied each 2 weeks in June and July to encourage vegetative growth. Stems were cut back to half their length in early to mid July to control height, encourage branching, and still allow formation of over wintering buds by early fall.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 4 months
Hardening Phase: As noted above; Fertilization ended in late July, and irrigation intervals were lengthened to encourage vegetative maturity and bud set. Plants remained in the outdoor shadehouse to acclimate to natural fall conditions. Shade was removed in October; leaf fall was generally complete by November.
Length of Hardening Phase: 3 months
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Plants did best when stored over the winter outdoors in an unheated poly greenhouse at Corvallis. When left out in shadehouse or lathhouse, soil became waterlogged from natural winter rains and soil surface was colonized by liverworts. Containerized plants can be shipped in early spring or fall in cool weather or in refrigerated van. Cool conditions are especially important for early fall shipping to avoid stimulating regrowth and bud break.
Length of Storage: 7 months
Other Comments: As mentioned earlier, bareroot seedlings that were spring planted at a site near Corvallis and western Washington did very well. However for Mt Rainier their goal was to have larger plants for both aesthetic and soil stabilization purposes following road reconstruction. Thus plants were two to 5 years old at the time of outplanting. Plants held over for additional years at the PMC required root pruning in the spring, and balanced top-pruning,
and required root scoring and extra protection from physical / mechanical disturbance after outplanting.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, C. L. Hitchcock and A. Cronquist, University of Washington Press, 1973.

USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Corvallis Plant Materials Center Technical Report: Plants for Woodland and Rangeland Reclamation and Erosion Control 1980 - 1997 (includes Annual Reports to Mount Rainier National Park from 1990 - 1996.

Link, Ellen, ed. 1993 Native Plant Propagation Techniques for National Parks Interim Guide; Compiled by Rose Lake Plant Materials Center 7472 Stoll Road East Lansing, MI 48823.


Flessner, Theresa R; Trindle, Joan D.C.. 2002. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Acer circinatum Pursh plants 1-gallon 2-year seedlings; USDA NRCS - Corvallis Plant Materials Center Corvallis, Oregon. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/09/19). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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