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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My First Successful Root Cutting!

New hedge maple (Acer campestre) from root cutting.
     Just over a month ago, I repotted a hedge maple (Acer campestre) and, in the process, removed a large, unsightly root. I decided to pot up that root as a root cutting, as I described in this post. About a week ago I noticed some green coming up thru the sphagnum mulch on top of the soil. That root cutting now has a nice stem and set of leaves! :-)

I'm going to leave it in the Crate with my tropicals for few more weeks, until danger of frost is past. Then it will go outside for the summer.

I've got a lot to learn yet about Acer campestre. But from what I've learned so far, it seems to be able to handle our winters, to be prone to low branching, and to be tolerant of heavy pruning. It may
be a very suitable maple for bonsai in northern Indiana.

That would be good, because there is not a wide range of maples available to bonsai artists here. Trident maple (A. burguerianum,) one of the classic maples for bonsai, is only half-hardy here, which limits its usefulness. Amur maple (A. ginnala) is as cold-hardy as a musk-ox, but has some undesirable traits. (It is useful as a learning tree, if nothing else.) Our two native maples, red and silver (A. rubrum and A. saccharinum,) look great in the landscape, but neither responds well to leaf- and internode-reduction techniques. That leaves Japanese maple (A. palmatum) for the local bonsaiist who wants to work with the genus. It would be nice to have another maple species that can take our winters, responds well to bonsai culture, and looks good.

Speaking of Japanese maple: in a February post (see here) I described the damage done to one of mine by either a squirrel or chipmunk. Sad to say, in spite of all I could do, that tree has succumbed. I have not seen the culprit yet this spring, but I assume it's still around, and my determination to drive it off our property is unchanged! Rodent-foiling measures will be much more stringent next winter, too.

Let me leave you with a close-up view of my newest bonsai-to-be.

Acer campestre, European hedge maple.


  1. A. japonicum, and more than a dozen species listed in the Vertrees book on Japamese maples.

  2. I hadn't thought of A. japonicum; it's not easily available here. Don't know how cold-hardy it is.

    Any of the Japanese maple (A. palmatum)cultivars would do OK here, tho the "dissectum" ones might need extra protection from wind.