Utah Native Plants for the Landscape: Bigtooth Maple
Native plants are playing an increasing role in sustainable landscapes that use fewer resources such as water and fertilizer. Unfortunately, many native plants are not available in the nursery trade, or if they are available they may only be found as seedling plants grown for the reclamation industry. Such plants are high quality and have a valuable role in the reclamation of disturbed sites such as fire-damaged areas. But, these plants by design are genetically diverse and have not been selected for typical horticultural traits such as flowering or fall color. In addition, plants produced for reclamation are usually not grown to the sizes desired in the nursery trade. The first step in producing native plants with greater application in the landscape industry is to propagate or reproduce exceptional selections of these plants.
Bigtooth or canyon maple (Acer grandidentatum) has much potential for introduction into the nursery trade as a small tree for use in water efficient landscapes. It is a small deciduous tree native to much of the western United States with brilliant fall color and deeply lobed leaves. However, its characteristics are highly variable which is difficult to use in planned landscapes. Bigtooth maple can be successfully propagated by seed, wilding, cutting, layering, grafting, or micropropagation. Production of selected clones with highly desirable traits is currently possible through the use of cuttings, layering, and budding. These methods make it very feasible to improve the quality and number of exceptional selections of bigtooth maple available for use in landscape applications.
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Nurturing Native Plants: A Guide to Vegetative Propagation of Native Woody Plants in Utah, Larry Rupp and Adrea Wheaton