Acer Negundo (Boxelder Maple) #1

Messages
1,302
Reaction score
1,551
Location
Central NJ
USDA Zone
7a
This is my first tree. A quick progression in photos with some minor descriptions. Not much to say about the tree at this point. It is an Acer Negundo or Boxelder Maple. I collected it last year from the front garden. I thought it was a red maple, but then I got the three-leaflets develop and realized that it was something else.

This is October of 2018. The tree was likely in it's first or second year at this point when I collected it. I threw it into a pot with some garden soil. Didn't know what I was doing at the time but it grew ok. I kept it watered and it seemed to react well. It was around this time I started doing some online research into the care.

2018.10.18.jpg

This is the tree in the winter while dormant.
2019.01.17.jpg

Repotted this spring as I saw some color return to the tree but it was probably just a little too early. After this point I moved the tree to my unheated attic which remains about 50 degrees:
2019.03.10 - Repotting 1 - Before.jpg

The roots I cut off...
2019.03.10 - Repotting 2 - Removed roots.jpg

Repotted and showing the buds swelling shortly after, probably about a week...
2019.03.14 - Buds Popping.jpg

Starting to leaf out several days later...
2019.03.20.jpg

The full shoots extending...
2019.03.30.jpg
 
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
1,551
Location
Central NJ
USDA Zone
7a
20190703_093220.jpg
Current. Been trimming off largest leaves as they harden off to get light into the plant. Seems doing so reduces vigor but doesnt slow tree. New leaves come in slightly smaller. Might be a way to reduce leaf size on species.

20190703_093246.jpg
Internodes are very tight on new growth. Tons of sun, water daily. Roots are growing into the sphagnum. Repotting will be needed next year. Going to try getting into a shallower pot for next year. Probably a cut down 5g paint bucket... i get them free from my customers.
 

just.wing.it

Deadwood Head
Messages
10,723
Reaction score
14,422
Location
Just South of the Mason Dixon
USDA Zone
6B
Interesting.
Can you give more detail about the leaf pruning?
They have a compound leaf right?

Are you removing the largest part of the compound leaf, or the whole thing?
 

milehigh_7

Mister 500,000
Messages
4,581
Reaction score
5,310
Location
Chandler, AZ
USDA Zone
Hot
Have fun with it! I had a few in my yard growing up so they are kind of special to me. I would be anxious to see if you can get it to backbud so you can have some lower growth on it.
 

Warpig

Chumono
Messages
756
Reaction score
745
Location
Youngstown, Ohio
USDA Zone
6a
Have you thought about a style yet? I know it's young still but you can still try getting it to grow in in the way you want to help later down the road.
 
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
1,551
Location
Central NJ
USDA Zone
7a
Interesting.
Can you give more detail about the leaf pruning?
They have a compound leaf right?

Are you removing the largest part of the compound leaf, or the whole thing?

Yes, they are compound leaves. Right now, at this age the tree has a single petiole with three individual leaves. What I've been doing is treat each petiole as if it were a branch, you could say. I have been removing individual leaves to allow light where I want, and leaving whichever other leaves are not hindering or shading out. It doesn't matter if this is the leaf at the 'point position' or the sides if that makes sense. By removing the leaves shading out other leaves, normally the largest leaves, it seemed to reduce the size of the leaves further up the tree.

I watching Ryan Neil's winter preparation video the other day and he talked about 'gas pedals.' Perhaps for this species, removing the larger leaves is one such gas pedal. It will be easier for me to tell next year, I think, as I hone my fertilization methods. This year was about getting a good soil, and really focusing on watering for me. Next year my focus is on fertilization and finding a method that works well for me.

Have fun with it! I had a few in my yard growing up so they are kind of special to me. I would be anxious to see if you can get it to backbud so you can have some lower growth on it.

Judging by the difficulty of killing them, I don't think it will be an issue. There are latent buds on the trunk at the moment and I did get some small buds that popped this spring but which never materialized into anything. I think when I do some pruning next year after first flush of growth, I'll see some backbudding. If they are like other maples, it won't be an issue.

Have you thought about a style yet? I know it's young still but you can still try getting it to grow in in the way you want to help later down the road.

I am going to grow this as a broom for now and see where the tree goes. I think in a couple years, I'll be able to make a better decision on long term style.

Nice! I've been thinking about air layering a negundo. We don't have many native maples here in Colorado. I have always loved the riparian environments where they do grow here.


If you do happen to air layer one, please let me know how it goes. We have a lot of different native maples here on the east coast, most of which are ill suited for bonsai but which I am going to try to train anyway. Silver Maple is one such species that grows like weeds around here. Thank you for that link as well - an incredible amount of information there. I've went ahead and saved that whole page in my resource folder.
 

PABonsai

Chumono
Messages
710
Reaction score
761
Location
York, PA
USDA Zone
6b
Hey @Orion_metalhead first off, nice job. It sounds like you're really getting a lot of knowledge from this tree.

One question, is this size what you are planning on for final size? I'm just wondering since you seem to be doing a lot of ramification rather than growth techniques on it. Though I guess it sounds more like a practice tree, so maybe you aren't worried about getting it larger? Just wondering.
 
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
1,551
Location
Central NJ
USDA Zone
7a
Hey @Orion_metalhead first off, nice job. It sounds like you're really getting a lot of knowledge from this tree.

One question, is this size what you are planning on for final size? I'm just wondering since you seem to be doing a lot of ramification rather than growth techniques on it. Though I guess it sounds more like a practice tree, so maybe you aren't worried about getting it larger? Just wondering.

Thank, PA. I can see how you are seeing these as ramification techniques but I'm using them to control what is normally extremely rapid growth that creates long internodes. There is currently very little ramification on this tree.

Overall size in the long term might be about 24". It's about 12" now.

So, what would you consider a ramification technique and what would you consider a grow technique? None of what I have done on this tree has created any ramification.
 

PABonsai

Chumono
Messages
710
Reaction score
761
Location
York, PA
USDA Zone
6b
Well for growth I would consider letting it extend then cut back as techniques to thicken trunks and branches. I consider defoliation a refinement technique used to shorten internodes and reduce leaf size (exactly what you are observing). From what I've seen the advice is to allow growth then trim back. What you are doing will let it grow, just very very slowly (is my understanding). I wasn't trying to knock what you're doing. I was just curious. Because if what you're doing works, I'm interested in that knowledge as well. I'm not familiar with this species. I know box elder bugs, not familiar with the trees!
 
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
1,551
Location
Central NJ
USDA Zone
7a
Because these are compound leaves, im trying to control growth and keep internodes small while allowing the tree to still grow through what is essentially 1/3 defoliation.

Im not too concerned about slow growth. I want to have small internodes on a tree which is known for having long internodes.

I havent done any cutting back on this tree. I also havent done any full defoliation. Will see what happens with it! Thanks for the interest!
 

NoTopSkies

Yamadori
Messages
52
Reaction score
11
Location
North Central KS
Plenty of Boxelder in KS. I have one in my yard that is 30+ years old. Fragile as our native tres go but I have always liked the structure and color. It has probably survived because it was a volunteer tucked away in a well protected corner of the yard. I am still confused about your pruning though. Are you pruning entire compound leaves, or the leaflets?
 

NoTopSkies

Yamadori
Messages
52
Reaction score
11
Location
North Central KS
HA. This thing wouldn’t take my reply. Here goes again. Please note our one tree is very protected and was a seedling when we bought the place 30+ years ago. It is now 20-25’ tall but a mess of multiple trunks. The branches break easily in wind and simply with age, similar to a silver maple. I think your tree is awesome looking so I hope you keep us posted. The reason I asked about the trimming is because I was wondering if I could trim off leaflets that dry and brown on my laceleaf palmatum that way. I had taken off entire leaves in early summer when I got it from Lowes on sale. It has struggled through the KS summer and I will only take off one weird branch after leaf drop. My interest is for the next growing season. Leaves vs leaflets?
 

AlainK

Masterpiece
Messages
4,201
Reaction score
7,014
Location
Orléans, France, Europe
USDA Zone
9A
I tried some, but gave up : the internodes are quite long, the branches have a very soft inner wood, like marrow, and when you prune them, there's a lot of dieback.

But I still have a couple in the back garden jungle, I might try again because I think only large ones can be achieved.
 
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
1,551
Location
Central NJ
USDA Zone
7a
I tried some, but gave up : the internodes are quite long, the branches have a very soft inner wood, like marrow, and when you prune them, there's a lot of dieback.

But I still have a couple in the back garden jungle, I might try again because I think only large ones can be achieved.

Good info on the wood and dieback. I made one cut this year and the only dieback was to the previous internode, which I expected.

HA. This thing wouldn’t take my reply. Here goes again. Please note our one tree is very protected and was a seedling when we bought the place 30+ years ago. It is now 20-25’ tall but a mess of multiple trunks. The branches break easily in wind and simply with age, similar to a silver maple. I think your tree is awesome looking so I hope you keep us posted. The reason I asked about the trimming is because I was wondering if I could trim off leaflets that dry and brown on my laceleaf palmatum that way. I had taken off entire leaves in early summer when I got it from Lowes on sale. It has struggled through the KS summer and I will only take off one weird branch after leaf drop. My interest is for the next growing season. Leaves vs leaflets?

Ryan Neil has talked about cutting the fingers off palmatum leaflets to reign in growth and control energy. If the leafs are dry and brown, i would remove them. They arent benefitting the tree and could harbor or attract pests and diseases. I usually cut mine off and compost the leaves.

I have seen some very impressive single trunk examples. One was huge!!! Easily a 3-4ft diameter trunk. It had incredible veining and character.
 
Messages
1,302
Reaction score
1,551
Location
Central NJ
USDA Zone
7a
Some final updates on this tree.

Front:
20191108_212839.jpg

From right:
20191108_212854.jpg

From back:
20191108_212908.jpg

From left:
20191108_212920.jpg

Grew well this year. Has only ever been in a pot.

Width: .38" (+.15" from last year)
Height: 11"
Age: 2 yrs
In training: 2yrs.

Plans for next year will be a repot to get roots closer to flat, potentially find a better front based on nebari. Hopefully get a low bud or branch in a nice place.
 

Similar threads

Top