Amur maple bonsai
The amur maple bonsai care (Acer ginnala, Acer tataricum) is straightforward and easy. The amur maple has strong root growth and is very easy to prune. After pruning, this tree species forms many buds. As a native maple species, it is completely frost-resistant and can tolerate the lowest temperatures in winter. All in all, a amur maple is a good bonsai for beginners.
We fertilize in our bonsai nursery with mineral fertilizers (administered via the irrigation water with an automatic fertilizer dispenser). However, we recommend organic bonsai fertilizers to bonsai lovers. With mineral fertilizer, you can easily make a miscalculation when diluting and then there is a risk of over-fertilization.
Organic fertilizers have the great advantage that they are released slowly and gently nourish the bonsai tree. If you give it a lot more, nothing will happen to the tree except that it will grow too fast and for too long. It also contains all the necessary trace nutrients that the tree needs.
Fertilization begins in spring with the first leaf emergence and ends at the beginning of September. It is best to fertilize with liquid bonsai fertilizers (every 2 weeks according to the instructions on the package) or every 4-6 weeks with an organic solid fertilizer (e.g. Biogold or Hanagokoro).
Due to the strong growth of roots and shoots, water consumption is quite high in a sunny location. That's why a amur maple needs plenty of water in midsummer and should also be checked regularly for water requirements in winter. It is somewhat more tolerant of temporary drought than, for example, Japanese maple bonsai. This means it doesn't get dry leaf tips as quickly.
When repotting, make sure to use a well-drained substrate (such as Akadama) to avoid waterlogging.
As an outdoor bonsai, the amur maple likes a sunny spot. In midsummer, a little protection from extreme sunlight around midday is beneficial as the bonsai pots can get very hot in the sun.
The amur maple is an extremely winter-hardy outdoor bonsai. A location in an unheated foil tent that is protected from drying out is completely sufficient. The amur maple can easily survive winter temperatures of -20°C. Under no circumstances should a amur maple bonsai be overwintered too warm. Especially not as an indoor bonsai in the apartment.
Any well-drained bonsai soil can be used to repot the bonsai. The Japanese Akadama bonsai soil has proven itself well here. Adding Kiryu or substrates such as expanded slate is good to further increase the permeability of the bonsai soil.
Since the amur maple has strong root growth, it needs to be repotted frequently. Usually after 2-3 years the shell is completely rooted. The best time to repot is the beginning of March (swelling of the buds). In the bonsai school we also repot in the fall (due to a lack of time in the spring). But the problems with that are not significant.
When repotting amur maple bonsai, strong root pruning should be carried out. 30-50% of the roots are removed. Healthy bonsai can tolerate this without any noticeable problems.
After pruning the roots, the young amur maple tends to sprout close to the cut in spring and quickly develops strong roots. A good and wide root base can be easily developed, especially with a air layering disc.
Mycorrhiza does not need to be added to the soil when repotting amur maple bonsai. Amur maple bonsai grow very well even without mycorrhiza.
With proper bonsai care, a amur maple tree is rarely attacked by pests. Fungal infestation (soot mold) can rarely be detected, which can be treated with commercially available anti-rust agents.
Acer ginnala can be propagated from seeds and cuttings. Bare-rooted seedlings are available in almost every forest tree nursery for little money. That's why you shouldn't bother to propagate the amur maple yourself.
What advantages does a amur maple have as a bonsai ?
- A amur maple bonsai quickly forms many roots and does not cause any problems when repotting, even if the roots are heavily pruned
- Amur maples are particularly effective due to their striking autumn colors. The small leaves are perfect for design
- This species is very vigorous and quickly forms a thick trunk
- Good ramification can be achieved quickly with amur maple by pincing. A leaf cut is well tolerated
- As an easy-care tree species, a amur maple is well suited for beginners
- Of the local maple species, the amur maple is best suited for bonsai styling
Wiring and bending the amur maple is a bit tricky. It is best to wire very thin shoots with bonsai wire (1mm copper or 1.5mm aluminum) immediately after sprouting.
The branches then usually becomes woody within 4-6 weeks to such an extent that the wire can be removed and the shoot maintains its shape even without the wire. If wiring and bending is done too late, the risk of breakage increases significantly.
It is best to use wire cutter for bonsai to unwire. With this you can cut the wire on the bonsai into small pieces and remove it gently.
The wire must be checked regularly after application. If the amur maple is allowed to grow freely, the wire quickly presses on the smooth bark. The wire traces can then be seen on the bonsai for some time. But they grow out after a few years.
It tolerates cutting very well and sprouts quickly after pruning with sharp bonsai scissors. To refine the branching, you can easily prune several times a year (until the beginning of August). If fertilizer is rich in nitrogen, the internodes (distance between nodes on the shoot) are often quite long. This is not a problem or even desirable during the cultivation phase.
As a mature bonsai, it can be kept very compact by regular pruning. A leaf cut is well tolerated.
The cut is made according to the design goals. This means that if you want a branch to thicken, you let the end grow freely and maybe don't cut it back all year round. If better fine branching is desired, healthy amur maple can be cut back or tweezed 2-3 times a year.
The amur maple can be designed in almost all styles. Its strong root growth makes it particularly suitable for the root-over-the-rock style. Designed as a freely upright form (Moyogi), a amur maple bonsai is usually very impressive.
Matching bonsai pots
Glazed bonsai pots are best suited for amur maple bonsai. Since the tree species is a winter-hardy plant, a frost-proof, hand-crafted bonsai pot should be chosen if possible. The inexpensive bonsai pots (made for indoor bonsai) are also almost 100% frost-proof. However, we do not guarantee the frost resistance of these pots.
Unglazed bonsai pots are less suitable (exception: gray pots go quite well with the gray bark).
The amur maple fits quite well in an oval or rectangular bonsai pot. Shallow bonsai pots should be avoided because of the strong root growth. Saucers are not needed because this tree species should not be kept indoors.
Suitable containers for prebonsai in the cultivation phase are plastic bonsai pots. The dark brown color of the shells does not go well with the often gray trunk. These plastic bowls are cheap, frost-proof, impact- and UV-stable. It is best to use plastic plant pots for 2-3 year old young plants.
Flowers and fruits can often be seen on the amur maple from the age of 15, but are this is not so important for the design.
The gray, mostly smooth bark is not very sensitive. Nevertheless, care must be taken when wiring so that the wire does not leave any traces.
The root growth is enormous. Imposing root roots can be created quickly and easily. This tree species is excellent for air layering (especially with air layering discs).
Air layering with a disc usually leads to success within a year. Do not pile soil too high. 1cm + foil on top is enough. New roots quickly become strong enough for a correction disc.
The amur maple (botanically Acer ginnala, maple family - Aceraceae) is a small, deciduous deciduous tree. It rarely reaches a height of up to 15m. Most of the time it stays significantly smaller. The amur maple comes from Russia, Mongolia, China and Japan.
The amur maple has recently been frequently classified as a subspecies of the Tatar maple (Acer tataricum).
The opposite leaves turn fiery red in autumn. Unfortunately, they fall off quickly.