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Canadian Red Maple

Acer rubrum

The Red Maple is native to the Eastern Coast of North America from Quebec, through Florida and into Texas. It grows to 20 meters with a narrow, compact crown. Its smooth silver-grey young bark matures into narrow long furrowed scaly ridges on older trunks and branches. Twigs are slender, reddish-brown, leaves glabrous, with small dark red blunt buds. It is cultivated around the world in temperate areas in Parks and Open lands for its bright red Autumn Colours.

Acer rubrum, Canadian Red Maple, Leaves
Acer rubrum, Canadian Red Maple, Leaves

Styles & Sizes: As bonsai, they make medium to large bonsai in the upright styles. Their leaves though large do reduce as the bonsai matures with time. It’s scarlet red spring, and autumn colours make the bonsai very collectable.

Position: Prefers a full sun position but if temperatures get too hot or atmosphere to dry, better to move into a wind-protected, semi-shaded spot.

Watering: Water thoroughly in the early morning, do not let the growing medium dry out, as the leaf tips can singe. During the hotter summer days, you may need to water between 2 and 3 times a day. If you are unable to water as frequently find a semi-shaded position for it.

Feeding: Feed bi-monthly during the growing season. Use a balanced organic fertiliser.

Repotting: In spring or early autumn; if re-potted in autumn remember to protect the tree in winter. Younger trees form great nebari and grow roots profusely so enjoy a year repotting. When repotting reduce root-ball by no more than a third. While it is tolerant of many soil types, it prefers a humus-rich acidic free-draining soil. Use an equal mix of loam, peat and coarse sand. Alternative you can use 2 parts Akadama and 1 part Pumice.

Pruning: Prune new shoots to leave three active leaf nodes. Leaf trimming can be used to induce back budding and branching.

Wiring: Pruning is the primary means of shaping, best styled with the clip and grow method.

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