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Japanese Maple Bonsai Care Instructions

Immediate Care Instructions
Please water immediately upon arrival. If you receive this bonsai during winter, dark and cold can trigger dormancy (the plant will lose its leaves in the winter). It has been forced to think that it's June, so keep it in a bright, warm location. Carefully review this instruction sheet for specific information on how to ensure you enjoy a healthy bonsai tree. We highly recommend referencing a bonsai book to supplement this overview.

About Your Japanese Maple Bonsai
This elegant jewel of Japan will provide a year-round show. In spring and summer the leaves will display an emerald green hue. As summer fades, nature will paint the leaves with bright yellow and orange fall colors. Finally in winter your bonsai will lose its leaves before beginning the cycle all over again.

Light Exposure
Your bonsai will enjoy light as bright as possible, but avoid excess heat which will dry out the soil too quickly. A location that provides morning sun or filtered light throughout the day is ideal.

Water and Fertilizer
It is important to water your bonsai regularly—the soil should be moist to the touch. Excellent drainage is equally as important as regular watering; however, please avoid allowing the plant to sit in standing water. A simple method is to set your bonsai in the sink and run a steady stream of water from the faucet until you observe water exiting the drain hole at the bottom of the container. A well-balanced liquid organic fertilizer can be applied every two weeks. Your local nursery will have an appropriate liquid food available.

Water daily, through hot spells and in the summer heat. Every other day is sufficient in the spring and fall. In the winter you should keep the plant moist, watering only when the soil is dry to the touch.

Japanese Maples naturally grow into a rounded shape. Keeping them miniaturized is best achieved by pruning the longest shoots, removing all but the last 2-3 inches of growth from last season every winter. During the growing season you may also wish to cut back any growth that visually detracts from the rounded shape. Allow the long shoots to develop a length of eight inches or so before removing them. This will keep it in scale with the container and allow the plant to make food to help support the rest of the tree.

Dormant Period
After its autumn color show, your Japanese Maple will enter its dormant period (the bonsai will lose its leaves). It is important to keep the bonsai moist, watering only when the soil is dry to the touch. If temperatures reach freezing, place the plant in a cellar or other cool place where it will be chilled but the soil will not freeze. You can move it outdoors again when the freezing danger is past.

Every two to three years, in mid to late winter, remove the plant from the container and trim away 1/3 of the existing root-ball. Then repot with a blended organic potting soil. This will encourage new root growth and keep your bonsai healthy and thriving.

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