Maples

Of the deciduous species which make good bonsai Maples (Acer Sp) (it means shining) are the stars. They are hardy, easy to train an care for and stunning to look at even when not in leaf.

Maples have one of the largest distribution ranges of any tree, being present throughout the northern hemisphere, so there is likely to be one or more close to where you live. The Japanese maple (Acer Palmatum) has many cultivars some of which have beautiful, (there's no other word which fits the bill) spring foliage.

Apart from the two species mentioned above there are ten or so other maple species, some with several cultivars, all of which will make good bonsai.


Propagation

All Maples are easy to root from cuttings, or indeed layerings. The roots of red leafed Maples are however weak and the tree will die if the roots have the slightest problem, that's why most red leafed Maples are grafted onto 'normal' rootstocks.

Hormone rooting powders/gels will speed up the process, but are not essential and a softwood cutting, in a good gritty compost, will root in two to three weeks if taken in early summer.

Layerings depend upon the thickness of the wood, but generally can be sperated (depending on the root volume) in a couple of months, remembering to remove enough of the top of the tree to bring it into balance with the volume of roots.



Maple seeds, or 'Samara'


Placement

The Spring foliage of maples is likely to suffer if the tree is placed in a windy location. The tips of the opening leaves are prone to dry out.

Summer also has it's problems. Maples should not be placed in full sun all day, morning sun is best but the hot afternoon sun will put the tree and your ability to water it adequately, to the test.


Acer Campestre the field maple. (Autumn)


Watch out for

The Red leafed cultivars of the Japanese maple (Acer Palmatum), are usually grafted onto normal (green leafed) rootstock, as they don't do well on their own roots. If you are buying a tree from a garden centre  to convert into a bonsai, take a good look at the condition of the graft when purchasing the tree.

In The UK we have two 'native' maples, the Field Maple (Acer Campestre) and the Sycamore (Acer Psudoplatanus). The Field Maple makes a very good bonsai, having small leaves and good colour, the leaves of the Sycamore do not reduce that much, making it unsuitable for smaller bonsai.

The American Sycamore is not an Acer and is what we in Europe call the 'Plane' tree.


Young Deshojo foliage.


Acer Campestre, the Field Maple

In Autumn colour


Cultivars of Acer Japonicum 


Acer japonicum 'Aconitifolium'
Acer japonicum 'O-isami'
Acer japonicum 'Vitifolium'

Cultivars of Acer Palmatum


Acer palmatum var.
Acer palmatum ssp. amoenum
Acer palmatum ssp. amoenum f. linearilobum
Acer palmatum ssp. amoenum f. linearlilobum 'Atrolineare'
Acer palmatum ssp. amoenum 'Karaori nishiki'
Acer palmatum ssp. amoenum 'Tsukushigata'


Acer palmatum 'Asahi-zuru'
Acer palmatum 'Atrolineare'
Acer palmatum 'Aureum'
Acer palmatum 'Beni Kagami'

Acer palmatum 'Beni Shichihenge'


Acer palmatum 'Beni Shidare Variegated'
Acer palmatum 'Beni Tsukasa'
Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood'
Acer palmatum 'Bonfire'
Acer palmatum 'Burgundy Lace'
Acer palmatum 'Butterfly'
Acer palmatum 'Chicamo No'
Acer palmatum 'Chizome'
Acer palmatum 'Crimson Queen'


Acer palmatum 'Deshojo'


Acer palmatum 'Ever Red'


Acer palmatum 'Filigree'
Acer palmatum 'Garnet'
Acer palmatum 'Hagoromo'
Acer palmatum 'Harusame'
Acer palmatum 'Hessei'


Acer palmatum 'Higasayama'


Acer palmatum 'Hogyoku'
Acer palmatum 'Ichigyo ji'
Acer palmatum 'Iijima sunago'
Acer palmatum 'Inaba Shidare'
Acer palmatum 'Inazuma'
Acer palmatum 'Kagiri nishiki'
Acer palmatum 'Karasugawa'
Acer palmatum 'Kasen Nishiki'
Acer palmatum 'Katsura'
Acer palmatum 'Ki hachijo'
Acer palmatum 'Kinran'
Acer palmatum 'Komurasaki'
Acer palmatum 'Koshimino'
Acer palmatum 'Kurui Jishi'
Acer palmatum f.linearilobum
Acer palmatum 'Mama'
Acer palmatum 'Marakumo'
Acer palmatum 'Matsugae'
Acer palmatum 'Matsukaze'
Acer palmatum ssp. matsumurae
Acer palmatum ssp. matsumurae dissectum atropurpureum 'Garnet'
Acer palmatum ssp. matsumurae 'O kagami'
Acer palmatum 'Matsuyoi'
Acer palmatum 'Miyagino'
Acer palmatum 'Murogawa'
Acer palmatum 'Nuomura'
Acer palmatum 'Nuresagi'
Acer palmatum 'O kagami'
Acer palmatum 'Ogon sarasa'
Acer palmatum 'Okushimo'
Acer palmatum 'Omato'
Acer palmatum 'Omurayama'
Acer palmatum 'Orido Nishiki'
Acer palmatum 'Ornatum'
Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'
Acer palmatum 'Oshio Beni'
Acer palmatum 'Otame Zakura'
Acer palmatum var. palmatum
Acer palmatum var. palmatum 'Marakumo'
Acer palmatum 'Purpureum'
Acer palmatum 'Rubrum'
Acer palmatum 'Sagara-nishiki'
Acer palmatum 'Samidare'
Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku'(Snake bark Maple)
Acer palmatum 'Saoshika'
Acer palmatum 'Scolopendrifolium'
Acer palmatum 'Seiryu'
Acer palmatum 'Sekimore'
Acer palmatum 'Sherwood Flame'
Acer palmatum 'Shigitatsu Sawa'
Acer palmatum 'Shindeshojo'
Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira'
Acer palmatum 'Suminagashi'
Acer palmatum 'Superbum'
Acer palmatum 'Tamukeyama'
Acer palmatum 'Tana'
Acer palmatum 'Trompenburg'
Acer palmatum 'Tsukomo'
Acer palmatum 'Tsuma beni'
Acer palmatum 'Tsumagaki'
Acer palmatum 'Tsuri nishiki'
Acer palmatum 'Ukigumo'
Acer palmatum 'Ukon'
Acer palmatum 'Variegatum'
Acer palmatum 'Versicolor'
Acer palmatum 'Villa Taranto'
Acer palmatum 'Viridis'
Acer palmatum 'Waka Momiji'
Acer palmatum 'Waterfall'
Acer palmatum 'Wou nishiki'
Acer palmatum 'Yatsubusa'
Acer palmatum 'Yezo-nishiki'

Other Acers

Acer shirasawanum
Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum'
Acer shirasawanum 'Ezono o omijii'
Acer shirasawanum var. murasame
Acer sieboldianum
Acer sieboldianum 'Sode-no-uchi'

Allen. C. Roffey 22:57 31/01/2003