Blessings of nature are everywhere around us. Enormous numbers of beautiful and unique plants decorate our mother planet. Acer palmatum ‘Baldsmith’ is one such beautiful short tree, popular for its attractive foliage. 5 to 9 pointed lobes join to form the finely dissected star-shaped leaves. On the arrival of spring, the green leaves with pink borders turn bright orange-red in color. Furthermore, the Baldsmith tree enhances its beauty in the fall by turning yellow with orange hues. This dramatic change of foliage is interesting enough to win your heart for this plant. Let us learn more about the marvelous Baldsmith Japanese Maple along with its care and propagation timeline.
Baldsmith Japanese Maple Classification
The scientific of the plant is as under;
Species: A. palmatum.
Variety: dissectum ‘Baldsmith’.
The plant is a variety of the plant Acer palmatum. The complete scientific name is as under;
- Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Baldsmith’.
Now let us introduce the genus of the plant. Genus Acer comprises trees and shrubs, with an estimated quantity of 128 species. The majority of these are native to Asia while some of the species are native to Europe, Africa, and America. Additionally, ‘Maple plants’ is a common name for the members of this genus. Palmate leaves and particular winged fruits are the common characteristics of these plants. In addition, these are the most popular choice for creating Bonsai plants.
Japanese Maple Parentage
Let us have an introduction to the parent of the Baldsmith tree, i.e. Acer palmatum.
Acer palmatum is a deciduous shrub or small woody tree, with an average height between 6 to 10m. These are native to some of the Asian countries like Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia, and Russia. In the wild, they are commonly found as an understory in forests with low light.
The plant body comprises of multiple trunks joined together on a short main trunk forming a canopy. The leaves are green in color with pointed lobes joined to form a typical star-shaped structure. This plant surprisingly shows wide variations in leaf size, color, and overall appearance.
Moreover, it has numerous subspecies and more than 1000 cultivars. Each cultivar is created from this plant with specific features. Many of the species are not created anymore. These specific features include height, the appearance of foliage, resistance, hardiness, and many others.
This small tree has numerous names. Some are as under;
- Japanese Maple.
- Cutleaf Japanese Maple plant.
- Threadleaf Japanese Maple plant.
- Acer palmatum Baldsmith.
- Baldsmith Maple.
Features of The Baldsmith Japanese Maple
- The is a small woody tree with deciduous foliage.
- It has an upright and spreading growth habit.
- The height of an average plant is around 1.5 to 3meter (4 to 10 feet) with a width or spread of about 1 to 2.5meter (5 to 9 feet).
- The leaves are lacy and lobbed with a maximum cross-length of about 4 to 6 cm on maturity.
- On maturity, the leaves turn outwards from the stem, getting a pendulous appearance. This further adds to the beauty of the tree.
- The average life span of the tree is around 20 years. However, they may live as long as about 50 years.
- The flowers are small, purple or red, and insignificant in nature. The shrub blooms in the typical spring season.
- The growth rate is very slow. And the tree may take years to reach the mature height.
Baldsmith Japanese Maple Care
How to take care of my Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Baldsmith’? Let us share the basic requirements of this low-maintenance plant;
It prefers average to frequent watering and has poor resistance to droughts. In summer, you may water twice or thrice a week. While in winter, once a watering the plant once a week will be enough. Avoid letting the plant dry out.
In the case of pot grown shrub, water generously in summer until the water starts coming of drainage holes.
The Japanese maple loves mild to full sun exposure and partial shade. Their natural habitat is as understory plants, but we humans have brought them out in landscapes. An ideal sunlight condition for the shrub is the mild sun of morning hours and shade in the afternoon.
It is important to mention here that direct sun exposure for long hours on hot days will burn the small tree. Tips of the leaves will show browning, which will be the initial signs of burning.
The Acer palmatum Baldsmith dwells in a variety of soil types and PHs including clay, sandy, and chalky soil. However, rich and well-drained soil will ensure rich and beautiful foliage.
10 to 20 % of organic matter in the soil will enhance the drainage and aeration of the soil. If you are growing it in a container, blended compost for bonsai or trees is suitable. In case, that is unavailable, take ordinary soil and add 20% by volume of coarse sand or fine gravel.
These are resistant to a range of humidity levels.
The Japanese Cutleaf Maple will do well with the normal temperature range of their growth zone. A temperature range of 5 to 30 C is suitable for the plant.
Generally, the plant does great without any fertilizer. However, a small quantity of suitable organic slow-release or water-soluble fertilizer in spring would show good results. Unwanted and high quantity fertilizers may harm or even burn the plant. So, maple lovers, be careful!
You can grow the Maple in a big pot or container to enjoy its beauty. Make sure the pot has drainage holes at the base.
Pruning will show good results to enhance the health and appearance of the Maple. The best time to prune the shrub is after the full development of the leaves in the summer season. Experts recommend full pruning of Maple shrub once in three years, followed by an annual mild pruning.
Pruning in winter or spring will make the leaves to bleed or ooze sap. The sap is non-toxic and harmless for us. However, this will make the plant lose its nutrients and possibly get weak and prone to diseases. If you prune after the mid of fall, the plant will not get enough time to heal before the winter. Thus, it is better never to prune your maple tree in spring, late fall, and winter.
Maple plants and trees like mulching. By this, you will be showing love and protecting the plant from the severity of the temperature.
The plants belong to USDA growth zone 6 to 9.
Baldsmith Japanese Maple Propagation
You can propagate the plant by using the following methods;
- Stem cuttings.
Propagation by Seeds
Seed propagation is a slow process. In addition, the plant grown from seeds will be slightly different from the parent plant. Alternatively, grafting is an uncommon method of Maple propagation. It is a complicated method and preferable for experts only.
Propagation by Stem Cuttings
Stem Cutting is the most common and easy method.
Use sharp shears to cut a newly grown stem piece of 5 to 7 cm from a healthy plant. Remove the lower leaves, while keeping two to three leaves on the top. For good results, it is better to dip the cutting in water and the base in the growth hormone.
Now plant the cutting in a pre-prepared pot of moist soil by keeping at least one to three nodes in the soil. Finally, cover the pot with a plastic bag to maintain the moisture. Place the pot in a warm place with bright indirect sunlight and keep misting regularly one or twice a day.
We are sharing an estimated growth pattern of the plant. However, the growth frequency is variable among the plants. Thus, keep observing the plant and adjust the requirements accordingly.
- Day 1: Planting a stem cutting or a layered plant to the moist growth medium placing it at a suitable place.
- Day 2 – Day 30: Keep lightly misting once or twice a day to avoid drying. Baby roots and shoot will begin forming after 3 to 4 weeks. You can remove the plastic wrapper from the pot (if any) by now.
- Day 50 – Day 90: Roots are developing and prominent shoots will be formed. Keep misting the soil.
- Day 90 – Day 170: (plant is growing) Leaves and small branches are developed. Plant height and strength should be good.
- Day 170 – Day 190: (Plant is getting stable) The plant does not need much attention by now. Keep frequent watering until the first two years. Fertilizer is not required in the initial 6 months or even a year. However, you can add a low quantity of suitable fertilizer by the second spring of the plant.
- Day 190 – Day 300(first winter): In winter it is better to transfer the plant in to warm region. Decrease the watering to twice a month or according to the soil conditions. The potted plants can be transferred to the soil in the first spring. Experts recommend not pruning the plant until it gets three years of age. Your Acer palmatum dissectum Baldsmith is ready to mesmerize you with its beautiful foliage.
The Japanese maple is a beautiful short tree or woody shrub and a cultivar of the famous Maple plant Acer palmatum. The plant is widely grown for its intoxicatingly beautiful foliage with changing colors. The leaves keep changing their shades and hues between the greens, oranges, reds, and yellows depending upon the weather. The low-maintenance Baldsmith Japanese Maple plant is beautiful enough to be eye-candy on any place in your lawn, pathway, or even a pot.