Silver Maple for Bonsai?

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Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  brycebertola on Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:47 am

Hello,

So my mothers home is overrun with silver maple saplings, all around 12 to 18 inches tall right now.

I thought that some of these could turn out to be decent bonsai, but I wanted to find out whether silver maple would be a suitable variegation for bonsai.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  JimLewis on Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:25 pm

I have never tried this tree, but most maples do OK in pot culture. It might have to be a large bonsai, though, because it has rather large leaves.

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  brycebertola on Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:41 pm

That would probably be my intent anyways, I just wasn't sure if they did well at all.

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Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:21 pm

No. They are weak wooded, short lived, and the leaves won't reduce. I've seen them tried. Unfortunately, there are practically no North American maples that make decent bonsai. In Utah, if you want to use native trees, go for pines and junipers. But you need to be an experienced bonsai grower to succeed with collected trees. Start with a juniper from a nursery.
Iris

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  princecheck13 on Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:57 pm

Any tree can be a bonsai tree..even a giant redwood..of course, you bonsai it before it turns into a giant..hee hee. If you like the tree then go ahead and bonsai it. It will look great in about 10 years, and should last a lot longer. Good luck!

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  bonsainotwar on Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:04 am

bonsaisr wrote:No. They are weak wooded, short lived, and the leaves won't reduce. I've seen them tried. Unfortunately, there are practically no North American maples that make decent bonsai. In Utah, if you want to use native trees, go for pines and junipers. But you need to be an experienced bonsai grower to succeed with collected trees. Start with a juniper from a nursery.
Iris

I have a silver maple I took pity on at a big box garden center last fall.It was a ten gallon tree,that had died almost down to the bottom.It has a little bit of live trunk,and a bunch of shoots.It had a decent sized base,so I planted it directly in bonsai pot after jinning it.The leaves miniaturize nicely,and it is more sun tolerant than an Acer Palmatum.I am just going to let it develop shoots,and branches,and not worry about styling it for a few years.

Junipers are overrated as starter trees.I was doing bonsai for six years,before I could keep one alive,yet after almost fifteen years,I still have a cherry,a pear,and a lilac,that were some of the first trees I tried.


Last edited by bonsainotwar on Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:05 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : omitted words)

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Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:41 pm

bonsainotwar wrote:Junipers are overrated as starter trees.I was doing bonsai for six years,before I could keep one alive.
Where do you live? We were talking about native species for collecting in Utah. The native Western junipers, such as the Rocky Mountain, J. scopulorum, & Utah junipers, are among the finest bonsai subjects in the world. But I cautioned that collecting native species is not for beginners & will not be a rapid process.
Let us know what becomes of your silver maple in a year or two.
Iris

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  jgrotts on Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:03 pm

It has been my fortune(or misfortune) to have been born in the Midwest and have been since I was very young inundated with Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum. When I first tried Bonsai I was told the leaves would not get small, that the tree would always want large leaves, therefore I have not tried it. Twenty years ago I was told by several I was wasting my time. I once took a wheelbarrow full of their seeds to my compost. My yards have always been great propagators of this tree along with walnut and redbud. If anyone would like a starter to try, please email me and I can fill a small box. Right now, I also have number of Pin Oak, I do want to attempt something with these little fellows. If anyone has experience with them please pass it along to me. If anyone has had luck with the North American maples I would love to hear that as well.

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  RKatzin on Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:46 pm

My favorite native maple, here in the Great Northwest, is the Vine Maple, Acer circinatum. It's very similar to the ever popular Japanese Maples. A small tree or shrub with a naturally twisting (vine-like) growth habit often growing horizontally through the forest, they make graceful floating clouds of foliage that turn bright red in the fall. They are produced commercially and can be purchased at nurseries if they do well in your area.

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  Mitch - Cedarbog on Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:25 pm

I have two different SILVER MAPLES arrangements, one is a informal upright, the other is a 9 tree forest copse. They are great. The leaves reduced too easy, and It is very vigourous and the wounds heal super fast. So far they have performed great. Had them for 5 years! Not one single problem...except excessive sun/heat this year from the crazy mid-east USA heat. Also America offers a wide variety of GREAT bonsai material. What about the american hornbeam, hophornbeam, eastern redcedar, American red maple as well as pretty much any maple, several oaks, virginia pines, ect. I love trees from all over the world BUT my preference is by far, Eastern Broadleaf Biome native species. They have done well mainly due to the fact THEY GROW NATURALLY WHERE THEY ARE TURNED INTO BONSAIS. Bonsai, for me, is what one makes it. As long as the owner and/or creator is satisfied with his/her creation, what debate is there as in what tree is more suitable than the other. Call me crazy but I have beautiful winter silouettes on my BIG leaved Nothern catalba, and american sycamore. They are phenomenal in winter and although not perfect but beautiful in summer. I am veering off into other trees from out and about but the native species will always be the core of my collection. I applaude anyone who tries natives and has an open mind approaching this GREAT worldwide hobby. Make it fun for everyone, and attract more in this hobby by having an open mind BUT with-holding the basics, ect. Lets get on with the times.

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Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:06 am

I'm surprised you didn't mention larch, which some consider the finest bonsai subject in the Northeast. Have you actually tried American red maple? I have been fighting with one for almost twenty years.
Anyway, the original poster lives in Utah, & wants to collect native species there. I advised him to look for pines & junipers.
Iris

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  Mitch - Cedarbog on Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:03 pm

UH ya! i have "actually" tried red maple. it does fine for me cause I guess I know how to reduce well and how deep the pot needs tio be....it has "root run", and thats what it needs. The larches dont grow naturally exactly where I am located... they are northeast of where i am located. I collect natives of my area in Southern Ohio near the river. Anyways, I was responding to the person who asked about silver maples and whether one has had luck with american maples, which there are plenty of success to be had with, as well as so many other American natives for sure including Larches, and whatever pines and junipers out west or anywhere.

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  bezmar915neo on Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:44 pm

Hey cedarbog.....I live in NE Ohio and yea do we have silver and sugar maple!! I have a few sugar and a few red maple and some pin oak. They reduce leaf size very well although they'll never b as small as Chinese elm they are certainly not huge. Maybe about 2" and some as small as 1" they keep getting smaller. I trunk chopped sugar maples and leave em grow in ground and they grow 8' new leaders the very next summer. They grow fast and vigorously and will eventually develop nice fissured bark and then I will dig em up and enjoy. Wonder if I use different fertilizer if I can change fall leaf color. .......?

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  Mitch - Cedarbog on Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:59 pm

bezmar915neo wrote:Hey cedarbog.....I live in NE Ohio and yea do we have silver and sugar maple!! I have a few sugar and a few red maple and some pin oak. They reduce leaf size very well although they'll never b as small as Chinese elm they are certainly not huge. Maybe about 2" and some as small as 1" they keep getting smaller. I trunk chopped sugar maples and leave em grow in ground and they grow 8' new leaders the very next summer. They grow fast and vigorously and will eventually develop nice fissured bark and then I will dig em up and enjoy. Wonder if I use different fertilizer if I can change fall leaf color. .......?

Silver maples are great in group plans... i have one and its working along development just fine, and sugar maples are phenomenal for bonsai culture.Just be careful with wiring on Silver Maples... they are quite brittle but once one gets the feel of wiring on a silver maple, the skys the limit on that species. I do not have a sugar maple at the present time but I saw one at a local bonsai nursery that had spectacular small sized leaves, especially when you consider the leaves' genetically predetermined size. Yea they will never be down to Chinese Elms leaves' size but they get small enuff to make a realistic and believable bonsai for, I believe, 12-24 inch height material. The leaves do seem to gradually get smaller as time goes on dont they. The Red Maple I have was started as a seedling dug up by Mr. Rob MacGregor at New World Bonsai in Felicity, Ohio. He has had it in open ground for 8 years while developing it.... I found and purchased it, this spring and the quaility and shape speaks volumes of Robs work. He sold it to me for a VERY reasonable price as well. It has perfectly proportioned leaves for 16 inches high. It looks great. Its just seems that if the caretaker of any American maple would at least take the inititive to make the tree happy, it will reward the creator with happiness as well. Give them "root run" and STUDY their NATURAL growing conditions and imitate them as much as possible. As with bonsai books, I recommend grabbing a tree guide(natl. Auduobon is a good guide for me) to study natural growth conditions and drought tolerance.. it gives me an idea how much water it likes. It seems to make them thrive when one blends bonsai culture with nature.
As for responding to the fertilizer and fall color, the only thing I can say is.... No later than the "middle part" of the late summer month, switch to 0-10-10 fertilizer and take them(if possible) out to full sun... it seems to intensify the fall leaf color.
I hope this helps... I enjoy helping fellow bonsai enthusists so any more ?'s helps me as well as helps anyone who asks so knock urself out;-)

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  Fabio Antakly on Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:28 am

I brought more than 30 Silver Maples seedlings 17 years ago from New York  to Brazil and they are doing just fine in a area that would be 11 or hotter. Some I planted in the ground some are in the pot since then.
Although they  have aspects that don´t make them very suitable at all, i like them so much i wanted to try.
Leaves sure get much smaller, and it responds to root prunning as if you almost didn´t prune it.
Yes, space betwen  the leaves are too long, wood is terribly soft and needs serious sealing, and and branches will easily  die back if you don´t prunne the roots  at every 2 years.
I will post some Picture tomorow.

 


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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  t tree on Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:47 pm

Hi I live in Minnesota and I am thinking about doing something simular this spring. I am going to air layer a Silver maple in my back yard.
      I think that it will make a good bonsai tell me if it works well. Smile  Smile


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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  Fabio Antakly on Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:15 pm

Hi,
Do you mean Air layer?
Silver Maples respond great and very fast to air layer. Branches of the thickness of a finger will develop good amount of roots in just 4 to 6 weeks.

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  Fabio Antakly on Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:21 pm

https://i56.servimg.com/u/f56/18/76/39/05/silver10.jpg

It´s a 17 year old, and is 1 1/2 feet

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  Mnmbjc on Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:07 pm

Nice info on this topic. I'm looking to get into native species and with all this info I will try the silver maple as it overruns my yard to. I could collect up to 100 if I wanted to. I also have three full grown pin oaks and their seedlings grow all over my yard to I think I will try these also.

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Bigleaf Maple

Post  RKatzin on Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:22 am

When it comes to big leaf, I think I can take the cake, or pie if you prefer, however humble it may be, here's an Acer macrophyllum.
This was taken in 08.


About a month later.


I'll have to take a new pic tomorrow. It has not leafed out yet and I'm cleaning off most of the new buds.

This is a native species here in Oregon, aka, Oregon Maple, though it ranges from SW British Columbia to the hills of So. Calif. I recovered this tree from a roadside where it was wedged between to big rocks. The road crew cut it back to the rocks every year so the top was a mass of prongs. A grader had dislodged the rocks and I was able to cut the roots and bring it home.

The tree was planted in a spot in my garden in 2010 and has been growing relentlessly ever since. I have been able to remove all the old stubs and build an acceptable trunkline.

This tree can sport six to ten inch leaves and I've seen leaves twelve to fourteen inches across on trees growing by the river. At this point I average 3-5 inch leaves and I'm just beginning to work on refining the branches. It required alot of growing out and cutting back to get the heighth I need without ramrod straight limbs. Even still, all new growth is the same straight elongated rods.

I've been treating this tree like any other maple, I let the rods extend and then dock them back to two sets of leaves. It does repond well to defoliation, though I've only done partial, just clipping out the biggest leaves, so far. I think once I'm done building I can get the leaves down to an inch or two on about a two feet tall by three foot wide frame.

It may be a fools errand, but I persist none the less. A few more years of clip and growing and I can bring it out of the garden and continue the refining process. So a good ten years from roadside to pot and I don't know if this tree will ever win any prizes, but she stole my heart. Very Happy  Best of luck, Rick

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

Post  Leo Schordje on Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:37 pm

Some trees DO make better bonsai than others. Iris really is trying to be helpful and steer the original poster toward local species they could collect for free that are known to make SUPERIOR bonsai.

Yes, you can apply bonsai technique to just about any species of plant you want to. Yes, you can call them bonsai. Will a mature example of these various species ever be good enough to be accepted at a jury show? Will it have a chance of being good enough for the National Exhibit in Rochester, NY? For the species that Iris pointed out as having problems, the answer is it is unlikely that a grower can overcome the problems.

But many can become good enough to be pleasing for a local show, county fair, or you might just personally enjoy them. Nothing wrong with growing a tree in a pot and enjoying it for your own pleasure. Many of my trees are in this category.

Silver maples, especially in leafless winter displays, especially when designed to sizes over 24 inches tall can be nice. But side by side in leaf against a Japanese maple, or a trident maple, the traits of the others clearly are superior in allowing you to be flexible with your design.

Of the deciduous trees, trident maple and chinese elm are almost like putty, or Play Dough, they can be molded into just about any shape, any style, any form. Silver maples are much more limited in how effective they can be because of the coarser branching. Larger leaves, and longer leaf petioles.

Interesting point: Acer rubrum, American red maple, the leaves reduce nicely, but the leaf petioles do not. By late summer you have a weird looking tree where all the modest size leaves are hanging out in space off long leaf petioles, like so many kites in the wind. Really a strange look. But for Chuchin and larger bonsai, nothing wrong with Acer rubrum, especially if you display it either in full autumn color (where the color trumps the weird effect of the long petioles) or in winter, leafless, or in early spring when it is just leafing out and is in flower.

So, Iris's point is that some species, like Juniper, can make a bonsai that can be displayed at anytime of the year. Other species have growth characteristics that limit when they will look their best.

Sometimes these traits can be managed by good technique, sometimes not.

One of the most important parts of a bonsai is the trunk and the nebari - surface roots. If the trunk and the nebari are really exceptional, allowances can be made for the rest of the tree. So occassionally there are individual specimens of species normally viewed as inferior for bonsai that really are respectable bonsai. But this is the exception. Growing from seed or nursery material take time, why not put the time into growing species that have traits that will make good bonsai, rather than investing time and effort on species that have known problems that are known to be difficult to overcome.

On the other hand, if time and energy are not limiting factors, go ahead, have fun and who knows, maybe you will produce a work of art that will take awards at shows.

If I were in Utah, I would be looking at collecting juniper's myself, I'm in the urban Mid-west, so I keep an eye on old foundation plantings and hedges. Junipers, yews and mugo pines abound. Crab apple, burning bush, honeysuckle, elms, and maples are around too.

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Re: Silver Maple for Bonsai?

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