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I have a mature maple tree in my yard. Every year it drops seeds which start growing in the most inconvenient of places, like my gutters. Next season I would like to actively cultivate these seeds and plant some new maple trees where I want them.

What will I need to plan for to make this project successful?

Is growing trees from seeds as simple as growing anything else from seeds?

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Is a Japanese Maple radically different from a regular maple? –  Freiheit Jul 19 '11 at 13:57
    
See the "stratified" link in my answer for the differences between types of maples. –  JoeHobbit Jul 19 '11 at 14:09

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Start by making sure your seed are "stratified" (put through a cold period to simulate winter).

An example of stratification: usually started mid-February.

Essentially, you break the wings off the seeds, put them in a jar of warm water, and let them soak for a day, then you put them in some damp peat moss, sand, soil, etc in a plastic bag (with a few holes poked in it) and store the bag in your refrigerator for 90 days or until the seeds begin to sprout. - link

Then around mid-May (or sooner if they sprout in the fridge) plant them in a pot.

The temperature and duration of Stratification depends on the climate your seeds like. See the link "Stratified" for more information on various trees' stratification requirements.

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Or just replant the ones growing in the gutter :) –  chris Jul 20 '11 at 0:03
    
Could you just section off a certain rectangle of garden space and space them evenly over grass? That would leave the environment just the same as the rest of the yard, give a place to winter them (because they would normally there). Assuming OP doesn't want them as potted plants. –  Throsby Oct 27 at 0:29

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