How to Care for Your Red Maple Bonsai
The Red Maple bonsai originated from Japan and China. Its leaves resemble the human hand, as it has 5 deep lobes that give this plant a unique appearance. In most cases, the young trunks and branches of this tree specie have a bark that is green in color, although there some varieties with a red bark. As the tree ages, the color of the bark turns light grey or brown. Among the several varieties of the red maple include the lace-leaf and threadleaf, and the red varieties are commonly cultivated as bonsai.
Location and Placement
The Red Maple grows well in areas that receive ample amount of morning or afternoon sun. However, it is not recommended to be placed in direct sunlight, particularly during the summer season. When placed in a location that is exposed to direct sun, the tree’s delicate foliage may be prone to damages. Its leaves may turn brown and shrivel due to intense heat of the sun, as well as the dissolved minerals that tend to build up in its leaves. This tree specie is best grown outdoors, although you may also place it indoors, as long as you provide it with sufficient sunlight at least 5 to 6 hours a day.
This lovely bonsai tree specie thrives well when its soil is kept wet or moist. Thus, you should water the plant daily while ensuring proper drainage to protect its roots from rotting. Bonsai plants usually die early because of poor watering, as compared to any other causes. The best way to make sure that your plant receives the right amount of water is by placing its pot in a tub filled with water about 1 to 2 inches in depth. Allow the holes located at the bottom of the pot to absorb moisture for a few minutes. Then, remove the pot and place it in its usual location outdoors.
Feeding your bonsai supports its health and growth since a huge percentage of the soil’s nutrients are washed away after you have watered your plant. Moreover, fertilizer supplies the right amount of minerals and vitamins that your bonsai needs to develop properly. Keep in mind, though, that it is not advisable to apply fertilizer for at least two months after you have repotted the tree. You should also avoid fertilizing a tree that is weak or infested with disease. In case you wish to use a chemical fertilizer, you may do so by feeding every other week. A one-half strength solution of balanced chemical fertilizer is a good option, or you may feed every 20 to 30 days using a slow-acting type of organic fertilizer during springtime and autumn.
Pruning and Wiring Tips
When you have pruned the branches, it is ideal to prune the roots afterwards to protect the root system from too much stress. Branch pruning is best done during autumn or winter, so you can prevent excessive loss of sap.
Red Maples are shaped by pruning and pinching. If you prefer to wire its branches, you should apply this technique in summer when the plant is already in full leaf. The young maple tree has a trunk that can be shaped easily by typing it to a stake, which allows you to bend it easily or maintain its formal upright style.
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