Flowering stem - male flowers
Photograph by: Qwert1234
Acer argutum is a small deciduous tree growing 5 - 10 metres tall. The bole can be 10 - 20cm in diameter[
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use of its sap, which can be made into a sweet drink.
E. Asia - central and southern Japan
In cool temperate to lower subalpine forests, usually growing in moist sites at streamsides at elevations of 800 - 1,900 metres[
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Of easy cultivation, it prefers a good moist well-drained soil in a sunny position but tolerates some shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Chlorosis can sometimes develop as a result of iron deficiency when the plants are grown in alkaline soils, but in general maples are not fussy as to soil pH. This species prefers its trunk in the shade[
The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates. The tree trunk is tapped in the early spring, the sap flowing better on warm sunny days following a frost.
Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
The sap contains a certain amount of sugar and can either be used as a drink, or the sap can be concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water[
]. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods.
We have two reports that the leaves of maple species, when laid in layers between crops such as apples, carrots and potatoes, have a preservative effect[
]. The reports do not name any specific species[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 - 4 months at 1 - 8°c. It can be slow to germinate. The seed can be harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions.
Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus.
Cuttings of young shoots in early summer . The cuttings should have 2 - 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter. Cuttings of this species root well.