Acer campestre is the only truly native maple in Europe and is often found growing in broad-leaved woods on lowlands and hills. Field maples are very vigorous growers up to around 8metres in height and can quickly form stout trunks with heavily patterned, rough bark. Leaves are 3-lobed, dark-green above and blue-green underneath and grow to around 9cm in length on specimens grown in the ground. However with bonsai cultivation, leaves can be dramatically reduced to a 1/3 of this size. Acer campestre develop impressive autumn colouring (as with most other Acer species) as leaves turn bright yellow and orange. New leaves in Spring and (to a lesser extent) through the year have a red hue to them. Flowers appear in May but are insignificant and are followed by small red fruit.
BONSAI CULTIVATION NOTES
POSITION Full sun throughout the growing season. Field Maples have much stronger leaves than Acer palmatum. Weak-rooted specimens may suffer from leaf scorch in Summer and can be afforded some protection from the sun.
Very tolerant of frost but some frost protection is required when temperatures drop below -10°C or for trees in very small pots.
WATERING Though tolerant of quite dry soils, Field Maples prefer damp conditions in a well-drained soil for maximum health and vigour.
FEEDING Feed every two weeks from bud-burst to leaf-fall. Trees in development can be heavily fed to increase growth rate and trunk size. Reduce or withhold feed until midsummer on developed bonsai to reduce the coarseness of new growth.
REPOTTING Every two to three years as buds extend. Refined Field Maples are repotted much less frequently in an effort to reduce leaf-size and the coarseness of new growth. However, specimens that stop extending new shoots throughout the growing season should be repotted.