Growing a new plant from a branch or clipping of another is known as propagation. Maple is a deciduous tree that can be propagated from a stem cutting or clipping to grow a new tree. Propagation, like germination, is the process of growing roots and is therefore a delicate procedure. Growing roots from branch clippings takes extra care and attention as well as the use of a rooting hormone. Once the clipping establishes roots, the sapling can be planted as would any other sapling tree.
Cut a maple clipping from the tree about 10 inches in length and remove all leaves except for those at the very top. Cut in the late spring or early summer when the branches are new with green growth. Do not cut an old, woody hard clipping as it is more difficult to propagate.
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Prepare a planting container. Small containers or pots can be used at the beginning since it may be required to keep the container indoors near a window. After the roots take, it can be transplanted to a larger pot. Mix together moist seed soil with Perlite at a one-to-one ratio and fill the pot.
Dip the freshly cut end of the maple clipping into a rooting hormone. Commercial rooting hormones can be purchased from home and garden centers or you can make your own. Organic homemade rooting hormones include a tea made from willow clippings or honey. To make willow tea, steep one cup of willow twigs in a half gallon of boiling water and let it sit overnight. Dip the cut end of the clipping into the liquid commercial hormone, willow tea, or pure honey and let soak for about one minute.
Stick the dipped clipping directly into the center of the pot. Push the clipping at least 1 to 2 inches deep into the soil depending on the pot size.
Keep the pot warm. Rooting tree clippings requires conditions similar to seed germination, so keep it indoors near a window that receives adequate sunlight. Keep the pot moist but not soaked. If kept warm and hydrated, the clipping will establish roots after about eight to ten weeks.
Transfer the sapling to a larger pot with prepared soil. To acclimatize the sapling to cooler temperatures, place the pot outside during the day and bring it indoors at night. Repeat for about ten days before transplanting the sapling to a permanent place in your yard or garden.
Plant the sapling directly into ground soil. Choose a location that receives the sufficient sunlight and till fertilizer into the soil. Place the sapling directly into the ground and cover the ground around the trunk with both fertilizer and mulch to keep it warm.