Japanese Maples

Japanese Maples

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Question: Can I grow two maples as bonsai?

good morning, I have two Japanese maple seedlings that for some years have grown one in a vase, the other in a flowerbed, born spontaneously from seed (in the area there is a "large" specimen), they are about 30 cm high, they could be grown as bonsai? And possibly how?

Japanese maples: Answer: maple bonsai

Dear Cristina,
with the term Japanese maple some species of maples are indicated, in particular the acer palmatum, which has a fairly slow development and is often used as bonsai. Keep in mind that the webbed maples used as ornamental plants are usually grafted, and in this way they remain decidedly very small, and sometimes do not exceed 65-70 cm in height; these same maples produce fertile seeds, which give rise to shrubs which, if not grafted, tend to become quite tall, not very quickly, but over the years can reach 3-4 meters in height. Therefore, if you decide not to grow both maples as bonsai, consider that the one left in full earth will tend to become larger than the decorative specimen you already have (all this assuming that it is a grafted maple, which is very likely). In addition to this, most of the cultivated maples are hybrids, so it is very likely that your two new maples are not completely identical to the plant that produced the seeds. In any case, the first thing to do is to remove the young saplings from the soil, to grow them in pots; get bowls not too wide and low, and uproot the saplings, making an excavation around the stem. Completely release the roots from the soil and then shorten them by about half; position them well open in the vase, and cover with universal soil mixed with akadama (the typical land used for bonsai, which you can find in any nursery or in DIY stores). Compact the soil around the stem, and place the plant in the same depth as it was in the ground. Once this is done, it's up to pruning; pruning a prebonsai is a complex work, not easy to explain in a few lines; consider that first of all you will have to observe how the two plants are developed, and choose from the outset what style you want them to take over the years. Once this is done, begin to conform the hair and the branches to the style you want. I advise you to look at a good number of maple bonsai, to understand how you will want them to become your little trees too; only then will you have to start the various steps that will take you to the forms you want. First it is important that you make saplings develop a strong root system, and a dense and compact crown.