Trident Maple Bonsai – Species Guide

Trident Maple Bonsai

Trident Maple Bonsai

Bonsai Trident Maple

The trident maple belongs to the Aceraceae family. There are two types of species; acer buergeranium and acertrifidum, these species have very similar characteristics. In the spring and the summer months, the three prong leaves are a pale green color, and in the fall, they turn to a red and/or orange hue. The trunk, beige in colour  grows vertically to anywhere between 16 to 65 feet. The maples originated in China and Japan and were commonly used as decorative trees for the patio.


The Trident Maple Bonsai will grow its best in full sun. However, it can also thrive in partial sun to shady areas as well. It can tolerate strong winds; but needs to be protected from harsh winter weather. It is drought tolerant and does not mind air pollution.

Watering and Feeding

The trident maple needs regular watering. In the hot summer months, it may require daily watering and during the winter months, it will only need occasionally watering. The tree should be fed as soon as new growth appears and then fed every week for a month. After the first month, feed every two weeks while there is still new growth. Throughout the summer, an every three week feeding schedule is recommended.


For a trident maple, pruning is recommended in the early spring to keep the tree’s shape. Mid-summer is the best time for leaf pruning. This will help to keep the foliage from getting over abundant. Only prune about ½ of the large leaves at one time. If the branches are being pruned, keep them to at least 6 inches long. Check the tree for damaged or diseased branches and cut them completely off the tree. If wiring the tree into a shape, spring is the time for this as well. Take care as not to damage any branches during this process. Also remember to remove the wire once the shape has taken hold.

root scraping a bonsaiRe-potting

The trident maple should be re-potted every two years before the age of 8. After age of 8, every three to five years will be sufficient.

Spring is the best time to transfer the tree into the new pot. It tolerates all soil types; however it does require that the soil is well drained. Roots can be cut be reduced up to 65 percent without causing harm to the tree.

Once removed from the old pot, comb the roots. Remove any roots that are damaged. If pruning roots, cut them at a 90 degree angle. Once all the root work is complete, place the tree in its new pot. Do not fertilize the newly potted tree for a month. The roots will still be week and could be easily damaged. A glazed shallow pot is recommended for the tree.


The trident maple can be propagated in various ways. The trees can easily be started from seed, which can take up to three months to germinate. It is best to plant the seeds in the fall in order to have seedlings in the spring. They need to be kept at a constant temperature and properly watered. Cuttings from the spring pruning will easily root. Place in water until roots are large enough to plant. The trees can also be grown by air layering.


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