Acer Pseudoplatanus is a large, vigorous, and fast-growing deciduous tree that is perennial. It is commonly known as the Sycamore in the United Kingdom and the United States it is popular as sycamore maple. These are very massive size trees with their height reaching up to 20-30 meters and takes a round, crown shape like a dome. This flowering plant is native to Western Asia and Central Europe. It is one of the types of species that belongs to the Acer maple genus.
Cylindrical, straight stem and branched root system characterizes the tree, that allows it the strength to withstand high winds and coastal climatic hurdles. The bark of the tree is grey and smooth when young. But later can break into patches that can come out. The leaves of this tree are large and grow on long stalks and are palmate that has five unequal big pointed lobes at acute angles. As the tree ages and the stem becomes stronger, the lobe of the trees vary in their size and depth.
The texture of leaves is leather like with thick running on the lower side. The color of the leaves is green on the upper side but the lower part can be glaucescent to yellowish depending on the age of the tree. During autumn, the foliage may turn bright yellow at times. The leaves grow along long leafstalks, and there is no sappy emission from broken leaves and petiole.
Coming to the flowers of the tree, they monoecious and yellowish-green. The flowers grow on long panicles, with about 60 to 100 flowers in every stalk, and open from April to June.
First described by Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753, Acer Pseudoplatanus is tolerant to shade and can live for as long as 500 years. It best grows in latitude that supports annual rainfall of more than 1200 mm and the temperature is about 12-13 °C. It can withstand severe cold climatic conditions, with temperatures as minimum as -30 °C. The tree can survive both cold and rainy climatic conditions, but for the dry summer, three months is the toleration limit. Acer Pseudoplatanus grows best in moist soil that is fertile over limestone or chalk. However, it is not tolerant to pure clay soil. It is easily found growing in soil that is rich in nitrogen. It can be found growing within altitude ranging between 500 to 1900 m.
How long does it take to grow Acer Pseudoplatanus (Sycamore Maple) Bonsai Tree?
Are you a bonsai lover and love to DIY beautiful bonsais? Then you know not all trees have the properties to grow as a good bonsai. Planning to make a bonsai? Do some homework to understand the characteristics and requirements of the tree. This will help it flourish well and stay healthy.
Here, with Acer Pseudoplatanus, the making of bonsai can be a bit of a problem. The whole idea of growing Acer Pseudoplatanus as a bonsai is a little uncommon. The reason is that the leaves of this particular tree are very large, and the tree grows large with perennial roots. As the tree grows, the roots can cause damage to the ground or adjoined area where it is planted. That is the reason behind growing it in open locations. It is also used for street ornamentation and decoration. It is said that Sycamore Maple, the forest giant, is not quite tameable and the idea of giving it the shape of a bonsai can be quite difficult.
Then, there are instances where it is seen that this tree has successfully grown into a great bonsai. This can be achieved by following necessary instructions and caring about it properly. As it is believed, if there is a will, there is a way. So, here, we shall discuss the basic points that you need to keep in mind to grow a bonsai of Acer Pseudoplatanus in your garden or yard. Acer Pseudoplatanus grows fast and can reach up to 2 feet within two years. Some basic points that you need to know about this tree are:-
a) Positioning – Acer Pseudoplatanus must be positioned in a place where it can receive good sunlight during morning and evening. But remember not to give direct sunlight during the summer times. Also, avoid watering the plants when in sun.
b) Watering – Take good care of watering the plant properly to ensure its health and growth. During the first week, you should water it often. And after the drying of the topsoil, you should consider the plant at least once a week. The best time to water this tree to ensure good lifespan is early morning or late afternoon. This will help the soil by not letting it dry out.
c) Soil – The tree needs ideal soil conditions to grow and remain healthy. Sycamore grows well in soil that is fertile with ample nutrients to meet its growing requirement. It grows better in acidic soil but is also tolerant to sandy or clay soil. Make sure that the soil is not soggy.
d) Ideal Weather Condition – This tree requires about six weeks acclimating to a new spot. While planting a young sapling or seed, always avoid excess exposure to water and frost. Hence, autumn is the best time to take a chance of preparing the base work for your bonsai. Mulching and rains will further help the soil to remain moist but not soggy and let the tree grow in its normal course.
The Best way to plant and grow Acer Pseudoplatanus Bonsai Tree
The best time to plant Acer Pseudoplatanus Bonsai Tree is between October to end of March. Avoid the frost periods. Please check with the climatic condition requirement and type of soils that you need to ready for growing this tree as a bonsai. Do not plant the tree in soggy soil. The ideal way to plant the tree is to dig a hole that is twice to thrice bigger than the root of the tree. Then place the root ball carefully in the hole. After the planting is done, you need to water enough water at the bottom and also layer with mulch. Also, please take care not to bother the layer of the soil and keep it as intact as possible while planting the tree. Some other vital steps regarding the growing of Acer Pseudoplatanus Bonsai Tree are discussed below:-
· How to Prune – Although pruning is not necessary, doing so can reap some good results. It can grant the bonsai a particular shape to make it look good and maintained. Pollarding is used to prune Sycamore Trees. You can also go for lighter pruning that can help to keep the canopy thin. This will permit better air circulation to keep the plant healthy and free from any disease. From autumn to winter is the best time for pruning this tree. Also start pruning in the dormant stage of the tree. While planning to prune for Acer Pseudoplatanus, always follow a set plan. What is the amount that you would like to remove to attain the desired shape and thinness is to be decided at your end. Then start the process. Always cut and remove diseased and dead branches first before giving the desired umbrella shape to the tree.
· Re-potting – For the younger trees, this needs to be done every year. And for the older ones, the period can increase to 2 to 3 years. Repotting is a very useful process to keep the bonsai healthy and free from diseases. Repotting should be done during the spring. Shorten the roots to a third of their attained length. Also, remove damaged or dead roots. Repot in oval-shaped pots to allow the tree enough space to grow and spread the roots. Repotting base should consist of 60%loam, 20% coarse sand, and 20% peat.
· Wiring – This needs to be done rarely and with an extra amount of care. Once wired, keep a check on the same and also remove the wires after a few months.
How to care for Acer Pseudoplatanus Bonsai
Several diseases can affect your Acer Pseudoplatanus bonsai. So, you need to take good care of the same to ensure that it stays free from the attack of pests and diseases. Placing it in the proper position to allow the right amount of water and sunlight that it requires helps a lot. Also, make sure that the soil is rich in nutrients and not watery. Some common diseases that Acer Pseudoplatanus is prone to are powdery Mildew, Sycamore Lace Bug, and sycamore anthracnose. Wood rots, root rots, mistletoe are some other serious problems that can harm the tree.
So keep an eye open to inspect the onset of any such issues at the beginning. Also, keep a check on the growing size of the bonsai and keep shaping it to maintain vigor yet not letting it take an unmanageable shape. Vigorous Acer Pseudoplatanus bonsai not only looks good but also does good to the overall health maintenance. Spraying cupric hydroxide, copper salts, or mancozeb and thiophanate methyl during spring can also prevent pest attack and diseases. The timely use of fertilizers and pesticides on small trees can save them against any form of pest attack or illness.