2020 Arbor Day Seedling

2020 Arbor Day Seedling

As a part of our Coronavirus (COVID-19) response planning, the Arbor Day Seedling distribution has been postponed until further notice. When possible, we will reschedule the plant distribution and will contact participating members with further information as plans develop. We look forwarding to sharing these plants with you and in the meantime send our well wishes for your health and safety.

As a part of our mission to promote horticulture and the cultivation of exceptional woody plants in our region, the Arnold Arboretum distributes exceptional plant material to other botanical institutions and to members of the Arboretum community. We continue to honor and build upon this legacy through the Arbor Day Seedling Program, which makes a seedling of a tree, shrub, or vine available in early spring to members of The Friends of the Arnold Arboretum as a benefit at the Sustaining ($100) level and above. Inaugurated in 1970 as the Spring Plant Dividend, the program celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2020! We invite members to celebrate with us by cultivating a living part of our renowned collections in their own landscapes. Join the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum at the Sustaining level ($100) or above today to take part this spring! Or, to upgrade your existing membership to qualify, please call 617.384.5766 or email Wendy Krauss, Membership Manager. Invitations will be mailed to qualifying members in February 2020 for April pick-up or mail delivery.

Acer griseum

(paperbark maple) Zone 4

Acer griseum

Peeling, cinnamon-colored bark is a striking feature of paperbark maple, particularly in winter landscapes. Photo by Jon Hetman.

Grow an ornamental tree with deep roots in the history of plant exploration at the Arnold Arboretum! The paperbark maple (Acer griseum) is native to central China and was first introduced to North America by the Arnold Arboretum in 1907—among a number of species collected by pioneering explorer Ernest Henry Wilson. A small tree up to 30 feet tall with an equal spread, paperbark maple is prized for its peeling, cinnamon-colored bark. Trees exhibit dense growth in full sun, becoming more thin and open in shade. Its trifoliate leaves offer red hues in fall, and may hold as late as November. Now endangered in its native China, the paperbark maple was the focus of a North America-China Plant Exploration Consortium expedition mounted in 2015 to explore, document, and collect from the few remaining wild populations.

Planting Instructions: Carefully unpack your plant. Woody plants that have broken dormancy do not fare well indoors, so you will want to get the plant outside as soon as conditions permit. Begin the hardening-off process after the last frost date, gradually transitioning the plant to outdoor conditions. One way to do this is to place it in a protected and partially shaded spot, either close to your house or in another protected location such as in the shade of an evergreen plant. Long periods of direct sunlight should be avoided during this time as it may burn the new foliage and reduce overall plant vigor. Once it has become acclimated to the rigors of being outside it will be ready for planting, preferably in a location that is protected from foot traffic and accidental breakage.

Plant in well-drained soil at the correct depth. The top of the root system should be level with the soil surface. The depth of the hole should accommodate the height of the roots and be left undisturbed to prevent settling, while the width of the hole should be at least two times the width of the root ball. This loosened soil will allow new roots to grow more quickly. After planting, apply mulch over the area, but do not allow mulch to contact the stem to reduce the likelihood of rot. Water well after mulching and continue to water (but not saturate) until established.