Mame Maple

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 | No Comments
Mame Maple

This little maple has seemingly impossibly small leaves on it during the growing season, more like a small leaf trident maple than whatever variety of momiji it is. Acer palmatum in my experience typically has 2-3″ leaves which can reduce to around 1″ with control of the plant. This one seems to stay around 1″ without any interference.

The little maple in the summer of 2013.

The little maple in the summer of 2013.

As with any Mame, the tree has to be stepped down into an appropriate size container, which can take multiple years. The tree has been growing in a pot that’s about 1.5″ square by 3″ tall and unglazed. With it sitting on the bench this winter I kept walking by thinking that it would look much better in a nicely glazed container. Luckily, I had picked up a whole lot of mame-sized containers via Boon that came from a former BIB club member; among them were multiple good possible containers for this tree.

A selection of mame-sized pots that could be used for this tree.   All of them are 1"-1.5" in size.

A selection of mame-sized pots that could be used for this tree. All of them are 1″-1.5″ in size.

Getting the tree out of the old cascade container seemed like a bit of a challenge. The problem is that in such a small container none of the standard tools used would fit, and anything small enough would be unlikely to get to the bottom through the soil and roots. So, I decided to cut the tie wire and put a small piece of wood under the drainage hole, then I tapped the rim of the container with a rubber mallet to release the rootball from the side of the container. This is definitely not standard technique.

I was surprised and delighted to find a pot full of great roots, evenly distributed throughout.

The intact rootball after being removed from the old container.

The intact rootball after being removed from the old container.

I trimmed the roots to a cylinder shape just slightly smaller than the container and filled the bottom with a mixture of 1/2 akadama and 1/2 pumice sifted to smaller than my standard small mix. I added a layer of 1/16″ akadama at the surface to retain slightly more moisture. Ultimately, I decided to go with a darker color container but one that was still less than half the size of the previous container.

In this case I'll actually call the corner of the pot the front of the tree, this closes the visual gap between the trunk and the side of the pot that you see in this photo.

In this case I’ll actually call the corner of the pot the front of the tree, this closes the visual gap between the trunk and the side of the pot that you see in this photo.

The current back of the tree, which of course could be an alternate front...

The current back of the tree, which of course could be an alternate front…