This immense deciduous tree bears the largest leaves of all maple species and is spectacular when it turns golden in the fall. It is counted among the few true western native maples, its range extending from foothills of Alaska to southern California and eastward to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is nearly always found in conjunction with streams and creeks. In warmer regions it grows at the base of north-facing slopes where perpetual shade and summer dampness support its need for moisture during the growing season.
The big leaves can be truly enormous and are borne heavily on upright stems. Trees produce inconspicuous wind-pollinated flowers in the early spring, which mature into winged seeds called samaras. The new leaves are bright yellow green and darken through summer. The change to gold begins with the cooling of late summer nights.
Grow this tree in sites with good moisture and partial sun. It is a good choice for expansive rural home sites with high water tables and perennially wet conditions in the west. Big-leaf maple creates habitat for wildlife, has high ornamental value and easily naturalizes. Further north its bark becomes home to mosses and ferns. This tree contains very sweet sap that can be distilled to create syrup that equals that of sugar maple. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Acer
Species - Macrophyllum
Common name - Bigleaf Maple
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 5 - 7
Height - 30'-95' / 9 - 29 m
Spread - 30'-40' / 9 - 12 m
Plant type - Large Tree
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Clay, Loam, Sand
Water requirements - Average Water, Ample Water
Care level - Easy
Landscape uses - Feature Plant, Shade Trees
Germination rate - 70%
Bloom season - Early Spring, Spring
Leaf / Flower color - Green, autumn - gold / Yelow
|1. Start the cold stratification process one month before the beginning of spring.
2. Place the seeds in a glass bowl and cover with room temperature water. Allow the seeds to soak for a minimum of 24 hours but no longer than 48 hours.
3. Hold a handful of sterile peat planting medium under a running faucet until the peat is soaked. Squeeze most of the water out of the peat, leaving it moist but not soggy. Place the moist peat into a zip-lock plastic bag.
4. Remove the seeds from the bowl of water and rinse them off under clean running water. Place up to three seeds into the plastic bag containing the peat. Use more peat and plastic bags if you want to germinate more than three seeds.
5. Push the seeds into the peat and seal the plastic bag. Shake the bag to distribute the peat so that it covers the seeds completely. The seeds must be buried in the moist peat in order to germinate.
6. Place the sealed bag in the bottom of the refrigerator. This will serve as the cold stratification. The seeds need to be kept at 34 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of 35 days, but not longer than 90 days.
7. Open the plastic bag periodically to make sure the peat is still moist. Add water as needed to restore the moisture.
8. Check the weather forecast after 35 days. You can plant the seeds outdoors if all danger of frost has passed. You can wait up to 55 more days, if there is still a possibility of frost and plant the seeds as late as early summer.
9. Plant the seeds by removing them from the peat and rinsing them with clean water. Bury the seeds 1/4 to 1 inch deep into the soil, ensuring that the seeds are covered. Keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout.