Trident Maple Bonsai Care [Acer Buergerianum]

One of the most popular choices for many Bonsai aficionados today is none other than the Trident Maple Bonsai. This bonsai is a certified favorite because of its ability to respond well to almost all bonsai techniques.

The eye-catching autumn colors from red to orange are another big reason why bonsai enthusiasts cannot help but fall in love with this tree. But, despite being durable, it is still imperative to take care of it properly to ensure the best results.

Scientific nameAcer Buergerianum
Average height20 to 32 feet
Average spread20 to 32 feet
Origin countryChina, Japan
Flower Bloom TimeApril to May
SunlightFull sun
How to grow bonsai Trident maple - how to develop branches and shorter inter nodes

Trident maple bonsai history

The Trident Maple ( Acer buergerianum ) Bonsai boasts of a robust disposition, thick trunk, and beautiful colorful leaves that make it among the most in-demand bonsais for both collectors and enthusiasts. This tree grows rapidly and is commonly seen in gardens and city parks. It is also hardy with the ability to endure tough conditions such as heavy pruning, air pollution, and dry soil.

The Trident Maple tree was originally bred in eastern parts of China and Taiwan. When in the wild, these are medium-sized trees growing from 15 to 60 feet. Following its successful growth in Taiwan, this was brought to Japan where this was exclusively grown for ornamental and bonsai purposes because of its traits. Also called the Chinese Maple Bonsai tree, the Trident Maple was first brought to Europe and North America in 1896.

Trident maple bonsai care

Through proper care, your Trident Maple Bonsai will be miniature, beautiful, and healthy for a long time.  Below are some of the basic tips for taking care of your Trident Maple Bonsai.

Trident maple bonsai climate

Trident Maple - Spring Series '20

Despite being quite hearty, the roots of Trident Maple Bonsai have higher than normal moisture content and are also prone to frost damage. Such a fatal issue means that the tree needs careful protection during winter. Since it does great outdoors and needs a dormant season, make sure that it remains protected inside a cold frame or a garage with enough coverage for the roots when the weather turns extremely cold.

Trident maple bonsai fertilizer

Younger trees require a fertilizer with high nitrogen content while the older trees will need lesser nitrogen for smaller leaves to be produced and to ensure controlled growth preferred in Bonsais.

The Trident Maple Bonsai needs frequent fertilizing throughout the growing season. It should be done once per week during the initial month of the new growth during spring and two times per month after this. When fall arrives, you should switch your fertilizer to something with lower nitrogen and higher phosphorus content to help the tree gear itself up for winter.

Trident maple bonsai pruning

Pruning a Trident Maple Bonsai

Since the tree tends to grow vigorously right before budding, the best time for pruning it is during spring. You can cut back as much as 65% of the roots to fit into the new pot without causing any damages to the tree. Take note that it will be better if you cut the bigger roots and not the small feeder roots.

Trident maple bonsai repotting

Trident Maple Bonsai Repotting | The Bonsai Supply

Early spring is the most recommended time for repotting your Trident Maple Bonsai before it starts to bud. You need to give the new trees one to two years to become better established before repotting. After this, you need to repot about every 2 to 3 years. When you have repotted the tree, you need to keep it in a shaded and cool spot for around a couple of weeks.

Trident maple bonsai pests and diseases

Bonsaify | Phoma Problems on Trident Maple

Diseases and pests can hardly attack vigorous Trident Maple trees. Spider mites, caterpillars, scale, or aphids can also occur often as well as leaf spot fungi or powdery mildew. In such cases, it is best to use a particular pesticide.

Be sure that you seal the cut wounds right away to avoid Verticillium as well as other dangerous fungi from getting through. Overwatering the tree may also lead to root rot. Frequent watering using calcareous water may also lead to chlorosis.

Trident maple bonsai soil

The Trident Maple is a hardy tree and this means that it can thrive in different types of soils such as loam, sand, and clay. These trees also prefer free-draining soil that has around 40% organic matter if used as a Bonsai tree. It is required to use organic matter since the Bonsai is a broadleaf tree. Akadama, diatomite, turface, pumice, decomposed granite, and coarse grains are among the aggregate additions to the tree’s soil.

Trident maple bonsai watering

The Trident Maple is a type of deciduous tree that needs well-drained soil and full sun. Although it is more tolerant to drought compared to most other types of species, the Trident Maple Bonsai still needs watering regularly. During the hot summer months, it means you need to water your tree daily. When winter comes, you should cut back on watering too often to avoid damaging the roots because of frost.  

Trident maple bonsai sunlight requirements

Your Trident Maple Bonsai must always be grown under full sun. Even though they are tolerant to the occasional amount of shade, Trident Maple Bonsais still prefer 6 hours or more of light every day. You need to provide your Bonsai with natural lighting. Full-spectrum grows lights can also be used for this purpose.

It is also a must to take note that you need to keep these trees relatively warm. Since their roots have higher than usual moisture content, it means that they are more prone to frost damage. This is the reason why the Trident Maple Bonsai is best grown completely indoors or in areas with warmer climates.

If you are living in an area with a cooler environment, these Bonsai trees can be grown outdoors only during the summer months. Just be sure that you bring the tree inside or keep this in a warm garage or a cold frame once the temperatures go lower than the ranges prone to frost.

Why trident maple bonsai losing leaves

Depending on your location, your Trident Maple Bonsai may lose its leaves during autumn. If this happens, you should water it as needed since doing so daily may be too much based on the weather conditions.  The problem may also be the exact opposite. The Trident Maple Bonsai may also lose leaves it becomes too dry.

Is trident maple bonsai dead if it has no leaves or buds

If you notice your tree brittle or discolored or there are no longer buds or leaves, it is important to check if your tree is not yet dead. Good thing that there is a very simple and easy way to determine this with no need for special tools and this is none other than the fingernail test.

To be sure that your tree is alive, you simply need to remove a small part of the upper brown bark to be sure that the tree’s second layer is green. As expected, green signifies life.

How to grow trident maple bonsai from seed

How to plant seeds Trident maple seeds for bonsai How When Where and Why to plant tree seeds

Cuttings that are gathered during early spring are going to root easily to help you start a brand new tree. But, Trident Maple Bonsai can also be successfully grown from seed. Even though the techniques to grow bonsai from seed may vary based on the tree species, the Trident Maple Bonsai can grow well if you let the seeds germinate naturally.

During the fall season, all you need to do is sow the seeds outside in a shallow hole with a depth of about a half-inch. If you are not sure about the seeds’ viability, just place them inside a bowl with warm water for around 24 hours.

The good seeds are going to float while the bad ones will sink. After planting, the seeds are going to sprout when spring comes.

How do you revive a dying japanese maple tree

If your tree is already in a sad and dying shape, there are a few things you can do to revive it.

  1. Identify the reason for the decline as this will let you know what specific things you need to do to rectify the problem.
  2. If your tree is sprayed with salts coming from the road on a regular basis, you can try diverting the way that the spraying takes place to ensure that it doesn’t reach your tree.
  3. If your Trident Maple Bonsai is dehydrated, don’t forget to water it weekly or so. The water must be able to reach a depth of several inches. 
  4. If your Trident Maple Bonsai shows a decline in its growth, you can try to use a fertilizer with slow release. Fast release fertilizers may leave behind some salt deposits that can prevent the decline from healing.
  5. Aside from adding fertilizer to your tree, see to it that you remove all the dead leaves, twigs, and branches to leave enough room for the new growth.

Japanese maple overwatering symptoms

Symptoms of overwatering your Japanese Maple indicate that there is a need for you to tweak the watering program you are using.

Poor drainage or excessive moisture around the tree’s roots can result in tiny leaves, mineral toxicities or deficiencies, and die-back. This can also make your Japanese Maple more prone to root rot as well as borers and other types of pests since the roots suffocate and start to die.

How to age trident maple bonsai

Bonsai trees, you cannot cut them down unlike normal trees to determine their age with the use of the number of rings.

The best method to know the age of your Trident Maple Bonsai is to use the simple equation of growth factor multiplied by a diameter that will be equivalent to the rough estimate of the tree’s age.

The summary

Trident Maple Bonsai required full sunlight and low maintenance, good for beginner. If you love outdoor bonsai that need low maintenance, you may also add bonsai calamansi tree, liquidambar bonsai, desert rose bonsai and bonsai chrysanthemum to your collection.

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