Silver Maple


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Wheeling, WV
So one day I was walking my dog along the Ohio River, which I often do.. I always notice a lot of cool looking silver maples big and small.. So I went down along the bank and found a small one worth collecting as the buds were just swelling.. So I dug it out with every root in tact and potted it up.. The buds are popping and I can't wait to watch it grow.. Has anybody ever tried silver maple for bonsai? I really wanted to do a native Maple..

~Don H.
I wouldn't waste time with silver maples. They don't respond to bonsai techniques...the internodes stay long, the leaves don't reduce, and the wood is soft. For native material, Amur maples do alright, but get a big trunk or be prepared to wait a while.
Our native North American maples do not really take easily to bonsai or container culture. They're mostly unwilling to produce tight short growth and prone to long leaf stalks and angular growth that isn't easily tamed.

Some folks have had success with Acer rubrum--red maple. I'm not one of those people, though:eek:. Chalk maple (acer leucoderm) or southern sugar maple (acer barbatum) have also been tried to little success. Acer Saccharum-sugar maple is the same.
Vine maple, Acer circinatum, is supposed to be great for bonsai. But you won't find in the south.
I am growing out silver maples just to practice trunk chops on but they are no good otherwise. When people say they don't reduce they are not kidding. Some seedlings (sprouted last year) already have stupid huge leaves. They do grow quick so I keep them around as experiment stock only. I have not put them into anything shallow yet but mine don't seem to care about growing in "regular" pots and didn't blink at being bare rooted this spring.

You have the facts. Good luck.
apologise in advance and do not mean to hijack this thread - on the subject of big leaves, has anybody ever tried dogwoood? saw a beauty that was horribly root bound and the leaves did seem much smaller.
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