Originally from China and Japan, the Trident maple is not as popular as the Acer Palmatum (the popular Japanese Maple bonsai), but without doubt very suitable for Bonsai purposes. Besides differing growth patterns the Trident maple can be distinguished by its 3-lobed leaves (as opposed to the 5-lobed leaves of the Acer Palmatum). Its leaves are (dark) green, and color red and orange in autumn. The tree is strong and can take aggressive pruning/styling very well.
Position: The Acer buergerianum prefers lots of light, although it should be protected from too much direct sunlight in summer afternoons. Protect the tree when it freezes by placing it in a cold room or by protecting the root system when remaining outside.
Watering: Be careful not to over-water, a draining soil mixture is advised.
Feeding: Fertilize the tree once it starts growing in early spring, about once or twice monthly until autumn.
Pruning: Pinch back new growth from about 5 to 6 leaves to the first two leaves. Be careful to prune the top/crown of the tree strongly to make sure growth spreads to the lower parts as well. To reduce the leaf-size remove 30 percent of the tree’s biggest leaves once every two years.
Repotting: Repot the tree every second year just before it starts growing (early spring), a normal (if somewhat well-draining) soil mixture can be used.
Propagation: From seeds, cuttings or by air-layering.
For tree identification use our Identify my bonsai tree species guide or go to the Bonsai care forum.
General guidelines can be found in our Bonsai care section or in the outdoor & indoor bonsai pages.
Return to the Bonsai tree specie guides section.