In for a TREAT.

rockm

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The thought that there hasn't been adequate experimentation with native maples is not really all that accurate. Many haven't been worked as bonsai, some have--for decades-- and there are specialized native cultivars of many developed for the landscape nursery trade. Take red maple (acer rubrum). There are a handful of good red maple bonsai around, some are forty-fifty years old. Vaughn Banting's red maple forest at the National Arb. was created in 1974 (from the "drummondii" cultivar, which has naturally small (er) leaves, but hasn't been actively cultivated for those. It just does).

Chalk maple, sugar maple and others are catalogued in Dorothy Young's 1984 book "Bonsai, the Art and Technique." Their listing includes characteristics and descriptions on how they work as bonsai. The simple fact is that there are not many examples of good North American native maple species bonsai, and not for lack of trying.

The argument that foreign species (like Amur) have somehow "naturalized" and should be considered native is wrong. Species don't change their genetics immediately (and 100 years in-country is not a lot of time) when transplanted into another country. Amur maple here is the same one genetically as those in China/Russia. FWIW, Japanese maples were introduced long before Amur, so it too, would be "naturalized" under such thinking.

I'm not trashing American species. I have mostly North American species in my collection. Yeah, SOME are great. North American maples, like MANY North American species, can be problematic, however, because they are wild and it takes a long time to develop specific genetic variants that "work" under bonsai cultivation. They simply haven't been selected for the finer growth and characteristics that similar Japanese varieties have. Asian species, and particularly Japanese species, have been developed over a very long period for garden use. Also Japanese maples and other species also evolved in a specific maritime volcanic island environment that perhaps made them more amenable to bonsai cultivation. North American species developed under a hotter, drier, more extreme continental environment that didn't produce the same results genetically.

FWIW, many tree species on the east coast of the U.S. have their closest genetic relatives in Asia, particularly China, so they may have similar capabilities that can be refined -- but since bonsai is a VERY specific use, that development probably isn't going to happen any time soon (if at all and probably not in the lifetime of anyone reading this)

I said the stuff about Japanese Maples because the OP has fallen in love with a pretty good example of an old JAPANESE MAPLE...not a bigtooth maple, or a sugar maple, or a red maple. Seems the tree "spoke" to them as loudly as some native maples speak to others. Recommending a species that doesn't really have any of the characteristics or development capabilities as a Japanese maple might not fit their bill...
 

ShadyStump

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The thought that there hasn't been adequate experimentation with native maples is not really all that accurate. Many haven't been worked as bonsai, some have--for decades-- and there are specialized native cultivars of many developed for the landscape nursery trade. Take red maple (acer rubrum). There are a handful of good red maple bonsai around, some are forty-fifty years old. Vaughn Banting's red maple forest at the National Arb. was created in 1974 (from the "drummondii" cultivar, which has naturally small (er) leaves, but hasn't been actively cultivated for those. It just does).

Chalk maple, sugar maple and others are catalogued in Dorothy Young's 1984 book "Bonsai, the Art and Technique." Their listing includes characteristics and descriptions on how they work as bonsai. The simple fact is that there are not many examples of good North American native maple species bonsai, and not for lack of trying.

The argument that foreign species (like Amur) have somehow "naturalized" and should be considered native is wrong. Species don't change their genetics immediately (and 100 years in-country is not a lot of time) when transplanted into another country. Amur maple here is the same one genetically as those in China/Russia. FWIW, Japanese maples were introduced long before Amur, so it too, would be "naturalized" under such thinking.

I'm not trashing American species. I have mostly North American species in my collection. Yeah, SOME are great. North American maples, like MANY North American species, can be problematic, however, because they are wild and it takes a long time to develop specific genetic variants that "work" under bonsai cultivation. They simply haven't been selected for the finer growth and characteristics that similar Japanese varieties have. Asian species, and particularly Japanese species, have been developed over a very long period for garden use. Also Japanese maples and other species also evolved in a specific maritime volcanic island environment that perhaps made them more amenable to bonsai cultivation. North American species developed under a hotter, drier, more extreme continental environment that didn't produce the same results genetically.

FWIW, many tree species on the east coast of the U.S. have their closest genetic relatives in Asia, particularly China, so they may have similar capabilities that can be refined -- but since bonsai is a VERY specific use, that development probably isn't going to happen any time soon (if at all and probably not in the lifetime of anyone reading this)

I said the stuff about Japanese Maples because the OP has fallen in love with a pretty good example of an old JAPANESE MAPLE...not a bigtooth maple, or a sugar maple, or a red maple. Seems the tree "spoke" to them as loudly as some native maples speak to others. Recommending a species that doesn't really have any of the characteristics or development capabilities as a Japanese maple might not fit their bill...
All fair statements.


Mr. Maple is already working on specialized cultivars of North American maples, and a search here on BNut returns many examples of Wasatch/bigtooth maple in development.
You may be right that Japan's are in many ways superior because of the length of time they've been cultivated for the purposes of bonsai and gardens, but again, we have to start somewhere, and we have some great material to build off of.
 

ShadyStump

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I have just realized that we may be missing the point of Turtle's enthusiasm.
It's the wonder we all experience, when our eyes first open up to possibilities around us that we never saw before. It's an amazing feeling, one that we should all make a point of allowing ourselves to get caught up in on occasion, even if it sometimes leads us down dead ends.
 

rockm

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I have just realized that we may be missing the point of Turtle's enthusiasm.
It's the wonder we all experience, when our eyes first open up to possibilities around us that we never saw before. It's an amazing feeling, one that we should all make a point of allowing ourselves to get caught up in on occasion, even if it sometimes leads us down dead ends.
I got the enthusiasm about the Japanese maple. Mature JMs are striking trees that can be reproduced down to the twig in bonsai--not at all really possible with most native maples. Doing that is what it seemed to me they were so caught up with... Success is a powerful stimulant to continue in this hobby. Having the deck stacked against you from the outset because your vehicle is balky and uncooperative leads mostly to disappointment...
 

rockm

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All fair statements.


Mr. Maple is already working on specialized cultivars of North American maples, and a search here on BNut returns many examples of Wasatch/bigtooth maple in development.
You may be right that Japan's are in many ways superior because of the length of time they've been cultivated for the purposes of bonsai and gardens, but again, we have to start somewhere, and we have some great material to build off of.
Again, "many" is misleading. A dozen good mature trees? Yeah, you have to start somewhere. Didn't say we didn't--more power to them. What I said was leading a beginner to believe those native maple species are capable of what they're so taken with is not a great start for them.
 

HorseloverFat

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The thought that there hasn't been adequate experimentation with native maples is not really all that accurate. Many haven't been worked as bonsai, some have--for decades-- and there are specialized native cultivars of many developed for the landscape nursery trade. Take red maple (acer rubrum). There are a handful of good red maple bonsai around, some are forty-fifty years old. Vaughn Banting's red maple forest at the National Arb. was created in 1974 (from the "drummondii" cultivar, which has naturally small (er) leaves, but hasn't been actively cultivated for those. It just does).

Chalk maple, sugar maple and others are catalogued in Dorothy Young's 1984 book "Bonsai, the Art and Technique." Their listing includes characteristics and descriptions on how they work as bonsai. The simple fact is that there are not many examples of good North American native maple species bonsai, and not for lack of trying.

The argument that foreign species (like Amur) have somehow "naturalized" and should be considered native is wrong. Species don't change their genetics immediately (and 100 years in-country is not a lot of time) when transplanted into another country. Amur maple here is the same one genetically as those in China/Russia. FWIW, Japanese maples were introduced long before Amur, so it too, would be "naturalized" under such thinking.

I'm not trashing American species. I have mostly North American species in my collection. Yeah, SOME are great. North American maples, like MANY North American species, can be problematic, however, because they are wild and it takes a long time to develop specific genetic variants that "work" under bonsai cultivation. They simply haven't been selected for the finer growth and characteristics that similar Japanese varieties have. Asian species, and particularly Japanese species, have been developed over a very long period for garden use. Also Japanese maples and other species also evolved in a specific maritime volcanic island environment that perhaps made them more amenable to bonsai cultivation. North American species developed under a hotter, drier, more extreme continental environment that didn't produce the same results genetically.

FWIW, many tree species on the east coast of the U.S. have their closest genetic relatives in Asia, particularly China, so they may have similar capabilities that can be refined -- but since bonsai is a VERY specific use, that development probably isn't going to happen any time soon (if at all and probably not in the lifetime of anyone reading this)

I said the stuff about Japanese Maples because the OP has fallen in love with a pretty good example of an old JAPANESE MAPLE...not a bigtooth maple, or a sugar maple, or a red maple. Seems the tree "spoke" to them as loudly as some native maples speak to others. Recommending a species that doesn't really have any of the characteristics or development capabilities as a Japanese maple might not fit their bill...
Dang!! I've been saying "Naturalized" and MEANING endemic. 😂😂

Yes.. I believe what you mean about certain cultivars... But for ME.. those are my "Selects" out of my ocean of seedlings..

These are my two favorite, 2nd year rubrums.. pretty tight. I believe that THESE trees, along with another handful I selected from that mass, will be useful, eventually for "TinyTree" purposes. (There's more.. just these are the 'teeniest')
🤣
68EF22DA-DD71-4195-9BC3-59343C49F198.jpeg6CE1F163-136C-429B-B8A3-D7D6211D4AC7.jpeg
But PERCENTAGE-wise... "select rate was under 10 percent...

So I grew 400 Native/Endemic/Naturalized seedlings.. to get 20ish specimens..
 

TurtleSquisher

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I personally believe that native/naturalized acers are wonderful.. (Some WAY 'more than others, for bonsai purposes) and we just haven't (as a collective whole) been utilizing/"trying" them for long enough.

But the standard "Bonsai" thought is exactly that.. North American Native maples= No-no. and only SOME naturalized..

But if we look at some of the older examples we have.. They (Certain Naturalized AND Native) Acers DO show some promise, in my opinion (This is not the average opinion amongst bonsai practitioners...)

But hey! I just DON'T live in asia.. and I enjoy maples, but DON'T enjoy(have) spending money. ;) So I'll grow them.

Native (not my image)
View attachment 431138

Naturalized include Amur.. so there are other VERY decent examples around.
I absolutely agree. The tree I found may not be bonsai-able but I'll be damned if I don't try!

And what a tree. That dark dark red bark with that fluffy red is ammAAZZZINGGGGG.
I've only squished one. I swear I don't have a problem 😶
I'll agree with both you and @rockm.
Many of the most common North American natives are either cultivars specifically created for landscape, or wild and relatively little is known about them. So we can expect the first generation or two of attempts at using them for bonsai to yield dubious success.
However, we most certainly have NOT tried enough of them - at least people who really know their bonsai game - to say that they are inferior.

Even so, most native trees in ANY place are not going to be ideal for bonsai, for all the reasons rockm mentioned. Even so called Japanese maples. Only a handful of species are ideal for bonsai, and many of them are domesticated cultivars, and those are the ones we know. There are MANY many more native species in Japan that aren't. The same goes here in the Americas: there are so many native maple species we haven't tried. There's only one way to find out which ones work.
I figure if they don't work, what does it hurt to NOT try again or at least try and air layer.

Thank you for your comment friend~
 

TurtleSquisher

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Dang!! I've been saying "Naturalized" and MEANING endemic. 😂😂

Yes.. I believe what you mean about certain cultivars... But for ME.. those are my "Selects" out of my ocean of seedlings..

These are my two favorite, 2nd year rubrums.. pretty tight. I believe that THESE trees, along with another handful I selected from that mass, will be useful, eventually for "TinyTree" purposes. (There's more.. just these are the 'teeniest')
🤣
View attachment 431218View attachment 431220
But PERCENTAGE-wise... "select rate was under 10 percent...

So I grew 400 Native/Endemic/Naturalized seedlings.. to get 20ish specimens..
o. my. GOSH THOSE ARE SO GOOD 🥰🥰🥰

WHY DO I LIKE THOSE LITTLE GUYS SO MUCH?
WHY AM I YELLING? IDK BUT THATS HOW THEY MAKE ME FEEL.
 

TurtleSquisher

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I have just realized that we may be missing the point of Turtle's enthusiasm.
It's the wonder we all experience, when our eyes first open up to possibilities around us that we never saw before. It's an amazing feeling, one that we should all make a point of allowing ourselves to get caught up in on occasion, even if it sometimes leads us down dead ends.
Wow. This comment really made me warm.

Sir, I truly thank you for realizing my enthusiasm. This is the first occurrence I've ever had on the internet that someone has stopped, and thought. About what the whole conversation was about. Seriously. Thank you.

I really didn't think trees would have such an impact on my life and my perception. Like you said, follow that road even when you know it's a dead end, but as far I'm concerned, as long as you learn along the way, you
really.
can't.
lose.
 

TurtleSquisher

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I got the enthusiasm about the Japanese maple. Mature JMs are striking trees that can be reproduced down to the twig in bonsai--not at all really possible with most native maples. Doing that is what it seemed to me they were so caught up with... Success is a powerful stimulant to continue in this hobby. Having the deck stacked against you from the outset because your vehicle is balky and uncooperative leads mostly to disappointment...
I totally understand what you're saying. I try not to rely on success as fuel to my fire, just cause like you also said, it leads to disappointment. I'm just so fascinated with this hobby that I'll just move onto the next thing, and the next thing cause there is soooOOOOOooo much to learnnn. Thank you friend~
 
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