Field maple for bonsai

Field maple leaf
Field maple leaf

Field maple (Acer campestre) is a tree species often found in forests in Western Europe. The species seeds easily and seedlings can often be found growing wild. They are strong growers, dealing well with trimming. As such it is often found in hedgerows or along roadsides as windbreaks. With age a nicely fissured bark develops making the species very well suited for bonsai.

Not to mix up with

The field maple has a leaf that could be mistaken for some types of trident maples. However, tridents have a much finer growth. Field maples will have cork on your branches when growing strong.


Field maples are very frost hardy. In my garden they take peaks into the -20C area in cold winters. With sufficient water they have no problems with full sun.


This tree likes moist cool roots. As a result, one needs to keep the watering can near. This is one of the first trees that starts to wilt in my garden.


This tree can be trimmed year-round. It is particularly important to keep the top under control else it will overtake the rest of the tree. Pruning sites close easily with several cm cuts closing in as little as 3 years. A healthy tree sets lots of buds. As a result, this species can be pruned back right to the trunk.

Field maple in spring
Field maple in spring


This is a very strong species. In early spring, roots of healthy trees can be cut back to stumps. If kept frost-free and in moist substrate the tree will break bud as normal in spring.