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Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum Verieties) Bonsai Tree Care Sheet

Hardy/Easy to keep and train/Deciduous/ Suitable For Beginners

Introduction.


Acer Palmatum are a genus consisting of hundreds of verities of small deciduous trees and shrubs that are native to Japan, China and Korea.  Acer Palmatum are very popular with Bonsai enthusiasts due to the beauty of their leaves, lovely spring, summer and autumn colors and they respond very well to Bonsai training.  There is also a wide variation to choose from in this genus, differences in growth habit, leaf size, leaf shape and color, green verities tend to be more vigorous and robust than red verities although the red verities are arguably more attractive then their green leaved cousins.  All in all Japanese Maples make excellent Bonsai trees, and are easy to keep and train, they are a good choice for a beginner outdoor Bonsai tree.

Where To Keep Them/Watering.


Japanese Maples are a hardy species and are classed as an outdoor Bonsai tree subject and should be kept outdoors all year round.  They will withstand temperatures as low as - 10c (14f) but only for brief periods, if prolonged frosts are expected then it is recommended that you protect your Bonsai tree by placing it in an unheated greenhouse or place some winter fleece over your Bonsai tree, this also helps to prevent die back of finer branches and twigs, placing your Acer Bonsai tree in a sheltered spot in the garden during winter will also help.  Japanese Maple Bonsai trees can be kept in full sun all summer in the UK, this will result in your Japnanese Maple Bonsai tree haveing better autumn colors than if it were kept in a shady spot, however in extremely hot sun it might become necessary move your Bonsai tree to a semi shaded position for a while to make sure that the leaves don't scorch.  Acer Palmatum Bonsai trees like plenty of water especially in summer when in active growth, make sure you check the Bonsai soil every day and water when necessary, this may mean watering your Bonsai tree once sometimes twice a day in the hottest summer months.  In winter continue to check the Bonsai soil and water if it becomes necessary, however waterings in winter will be few and far between, due to the fact it is cooler and your Acer Bonsai tree wont be in active growth and will not have any leaves to support.

Repotting/Wiring/Feeding/And Pruning.


You will need to re-pot your Acer Bonsai tree every 1-2 years, but only if the roots become pot bound, the best time to do this is in late winter or early spring, when the new buds are beginning to sprout.  If your Bonsai tree has a good root system you should be able to gently lift it out of the Bonsai pot in spring (you may need to snip the Wire underneath the Bonsai pot if the Bonsai tree is wired in) and take a look at the roots to see if they are pot bound, if so you should repot your Bonsai tree, if the roots seem ok then leave re-potting till the following year. when it does become necessary to repot your Japanese Maple Bonsai, you should use a good quality free draining Bonsai soil.  Akadama Bonsai soil is an excellent choice and can be used on it's own or if you require a more moisture retentive Bonsai soil you could add some fine potting bark to it, Moler Bonsai soil is another good choice, again you could use it on it's own or add some potting bark, you can also add pumice granules to your soil mix as this aids drainage but also holds moisture for your Bonsai tree.  It is important not to fertilize your Bonsai tree for around four weeks after re-potting as doing so can burn the new roots that your Bonsai tree will be developing, after this period carry on fertilizing as usual.  You should fertilize your Bonsai tree from spring onwards with a balanced fertilizer such as Chempak, you will usually fertilize your Bonsai tree once a week or once a fought night but feeding guidelines will differ from brand to brand so it is best to refer to the instructions on the particular brand you decide to use.  It is best to carry out wiring on your Japanese Maple Bonsai in spring as the leaves wont be in the way at this time though you need to be careful not to dislodge any buds that are forming, it is not recommended to wire your Japanese Maple Bonsai tree in winter as doing so can cause the branches to unexpectedly snap as the branches tend to be more brittle in winter.  Don't leave the wires on your Bonsai tree for more than 6 months, keep checking on them and make sure they don't start to bite in to the Acer Bonsai's bark.  Prune your Maple Bonsai tree back to shape throughout the growing season, trim back to one or two pares of leaves, also remove growth with long internodes (distance between leaves) this will result in more compact growth, any hard pruning that needs to be carried out is best done in mid summer when wounds will heal better and quicker, or in autumn as soon as possible after the leaves have fallen, it is not recommended to carry out hard pruning on Maple Bonsai trees in spring as they tend to bleed a lot which will weaken your Bonsai tree.  Leaf pruning (defoliation) on Japanese Maple Bonsai trees is a good idea in mid summer to promote smaller leaves, denser foliage and better autumn color, defoliation should only be carried out on healthy Acer Bonsai trees, you should not do this in the same year you re-pot your Bonsai tree, it is also not recommended to do this two years in a row, it is also not recommended for use on weaker red Japanese Maple verities. 


The best way to ensure you keep your Bonsai tree healthy is to do as much research as possible(Internet and or books) on the particular species you own and also Bonsai in general as this will give you a broader understanding of the subject and will give you a far better chance of success with your Bonsai tree.


I hope this care sheet has been of interest and helpful to you, if so you might want to read the other care sheets on this site.  It is up to you to use the information given here responsibly and Bargain Bonsai holds no responsibility as to how you use it.

 

                                                                                                                                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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