We have a sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) seed that sprouted in a soil filled pot with no other plant in it. Its about 2 inches tall. We'd like to try to salvage it by transplanting it to a larger pot with a 2 foot diameter and about 3 foot depth. We aren't sure what the safest way to transplant the sapling would be. We are assuming it would be safe to grow in a large pot for a year or so until it is big enough to plant at my grandfather's place without being trampled on by lawn mowers and kids running around.

  • As this tree is considered an invasive species by the US Department of Agriculture, is it a good idea to rear and plant one? Certainly, in the UK, the presence of a sycamore maple within 100 feet of where you live is a cause for groaning loudly and keeping fingers crossed regarding wind direction in late autumn - it produces thousands of samaras which readily germinate everywhere...
    – Bamboo
    Jun 23, 2016 at 15:11
  • Hi Jonathan! I asked a similar question. Though it's not a duplicate, there may be something in the answer there that might help you. I hope you do well with your tree! Jun 23, 2016 at 18:34
  • @Sue - your question is about a Japanese maple seedling - this is a totally different proposition from sycamore maple. The first plant is slow growing and will never become a massive tree - samaras aren't prolific either, which is why its not considered invasive. Sycamore maple, on the other hand, is fast growing and makes around 98 feet, and produces copious amounts of samaras. The advice in the answer given to your question isn't particularly relevant for sycamore maple either, but luckily, Kevinsky has described how to grow this particular seedling on.
    – Bamboo
    Jun 23, 2016 at 21:26
  • @Bamboo Thanks for the clarification. I didn't research the two trees enough to know the difference. Jonathan, I apologize for pointing you in the wrong direction! Jun 23, 2016 at 22:39
  • Assuming you're in the United States, what state do you and your grandfather reside in? The tree might not be considered a problem depending on the state you're in.
    – user14984
    Jun 24, 2016 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


This is not a good idea for several reasons:

  • Bamboo is correct. This plant is native to Europe and considered an invasive plant in Eastern North America. It even made the US Forest Service "Weed of the Week" here.
  • a seedling a few inches tall should never be transplanted into a pot many times larger. Repotting should be done into a pot one or two sizes larger. With trees this can be done every year. I have maples that get to 12" tall (~6 cm) in a two inch diameter pot so trees can get large in small pots.
  • Hi! If I've read the question correctly, Jonathan isn't asking whether or not to grow the maple; he's looking for help with transplantation. Therefore, the first bullet point is not an answer. The second part gives the requested information, along with your own experience of having grown this type of tree the proper way. As a passer-by who's interested in the question, this seems contradictory, especially since it doesn't give the actual answer first, and acknowledge the rest as opinion. Jun 23, 2016 at 18:30
  • @Sue fair enough but sometimes it is also part of a good answer to supply information that they did not ask about. Given the problems with invasive plants around the world they can make a more informed decision on whether to keep this plant now.
    – kevinskio
    Jun 23, 2016 at 19:57
  • 2
    Thanks for all the information. It turns out that it IS an invasive species so I destroyed it. I'm still not entirely sure where the seed came from since this species of tree is nowhere to be seen in our neighborhood. I suspect it was probably a bird.
    – Jonathan
    Jun 28, 2016 at 20:31

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