Rosaelyn
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Wanting to Chop my Chinese Elm

I was reading that with Chinese Elm it is best to heavy prune in the fall, because this causes less scarring. What I'm wondering is if "heavy pruning" includes chopping the trunk?

[img]https://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x103/littlegirl550/Bonsai/ElmChopIdeas.jpg[/img]

This is my elm (after a quick pruning, so it looks a lil sparse), purchased from Bonsai Boy. I'm kinda blah about the top and the more I've looked at it, the more I realize that the "S" shape is causing a slight ribbon effect in the trunk, making it look like it has a reverse taper in some places.

I'm thinking of chopping at the red vertical line and using the branch there (which is actually pointed forward ATM) as the new top. It is a well-established branch, though, so it might take some heavy "convincing." :) I know Chinese elms tend to bud easily, so perhaps it would be easier to just grow a new top entirely?

Any advice or ideas? Especially along the lines of doing a chop this time of year - because trunk chops are always so ugly... Anything to make it less ugly would be ideal. :) (There is currently an ugly chop facing the back, where the top branches out.)

I'd luv some feedback. Thnx in advance, everyone.
Rosaelyn @}>---'---,---

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

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Gnome
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Rosaelyn,

I agree with your assessment of the trunk. Too often these mass produced trees exhibit this characteristic. I had one very similar to yours and I am in the process of re-working it. The grafting I was so sure of failed and I am regrouping. :(

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3544

Have you considered dong an air layer prior to chopping it? This way you end up with two trees rather than one. On the other hand this will slow down the progress of the main tree. It is a trade off and I suppose it depends upon your priorities.

I would wait until spring to do a major cutback like you suggest. Do you intend to allow it a full dormancy?

Norm

Rosaelyn
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Not this year. I received it labeled as an "indoor tree" about a month ago. So I would not trust sticking it outside at this point. (We've already had a few nights where it has gone below freezing.) But come spring, I do plan to find a nice spot for it outside.

I might consider an air layer with this tree in the spring, however, I have another Chinese Elm I found at a nursery with a great trunk and nice nebari. It's a very vigorous looking tree with lots of branches that I think would be great to play around with. (I'll have to post a pic when I get home, I can't here at work.) My ultimate goal is to cut it back and grow from there. But I'm playing with the idea of air layering and also using a few branches to try my hand at a raft style planting.

I tell ya, with all the cold and rain this week and looking at my trees with all this hidden potential, I am definitely anxious for spring. :)

WRT the grafting on your elm, I did read that thread and it was disappointing from this end too - to see all the work and careful planning you did to have the graft not take. :( How is your tree doing, BTW? It sounds like you are letting it recover for a bit before working with it anymore?
Rosaelyn @}>---'---,---

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

Rosaelyn
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Location: Brighton, Michigan

The trunk is 2-5/8 inches in diameter and the tree is currently 32 inches tall. lol So once I air layer the top off, I'll be aiming for a tree about 15-16" tall (about 1/2 its current height). :)

[img]https://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x103/littlegirl550/Bonsai/100_0678.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x103/littlegirl550/Bonsai/100_0675.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x103/littlegirl550/Bonsai/100_0677.jpg[/img]
Rosaelyn @}>---'---,---

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

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djlen
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Wow, that's a really nice tree Rosaelyn!! I am so jealous. I've never seen
potted Elms that size in this area. I hope you will share with us what you do with it.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
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Rosaelyn,

I too wish that I could find something like that here but other than mallsai I have never seen a Chinese Elm locally.
The trunk is 2-5/8 inches in diameter and the tree is currently 32 inches tall. lol So once I air layer the top off, I'll be aiming for a tree about 15-16" tall
What style are you planning for? With a straight trunk like that your only two options would seem to be formal upright or broom. If you choose the formal upright the lack of taper in the first section is a consideration.

Of course you could chop it near ground level to get some movement and taper for an informal upright. Do you have the heart to do a chop that severe on such a nice trunk?

Norm

Rosaelyn
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Yah, I don't know if I could bring myself to chop it all the way. lol I was thinking a little less than 1/2 way up (I think that would be a good place to air layer the top).

[img]https://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x103/littlegirl550/Bonsai/FrostyElmAirLayerIdeas.jpg[/img]

I think there are some good potential branches on the bottom half that are started and should get some more energy once the top is gone.

I think once I air layer the top, I'll have some more perspective and I can see how some of the smaller branches on the bottom develop over the remainder of the season. Once there is some more development I'll decide whether I'm leaning towards an informal upright or maybe an informal broom.

Yah, the way I came across this tree and a few others was from a great local nursery called Gee Farms. The Ann Arbor Bonsai Society met there and we were able to tour their facility alongside the nursery owner.

He called this tree failed "Frosty" Chinese Elm and let me have it for $15. It's not entirely failed IMO, cuz the leaves all have a strange greyish "powdercoat" to them which is quite attractive. Very different than my other elm which has bright green leaves.
Rosaelyn @}>---'---,---

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

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djlen
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Rosaelyn wrote:
He called this tree failed "Frosty" Chinese Elm and let me have it for $15. It's not entirely failed IMO, cuz the leaves all have a strange greyish "powdercoat" to them which is quite attractive. Very different than my other elm which has bright green leaves.
Well, now my envy has turned to outright anger.
15 DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?
I will tell you that it would have to be one heck of a dumpy looking tree...beat up....with most of the branches mangled....half the soil missing....leaning heavily to the ground, to find a tree for $15 around here...lol.
You will get atleast two nice trees out of that one. Congrats!! :shock:
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
_________
How To Post A Picture

Rosaelyn
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Location: Brighton, Michigan

Yah, now I just have to make sure I keep myself occupied until spring... So many ideas, so long a winter ahead of me.

At least I have my tropical trees. :)
Rosaelyn @}>---'---,---

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

Marsman
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I picked up a Chinese Elm at a local nursery. They were having a 25% off Fall Sale and I was scoping the place out with my daughter. They had some very nice elms, then the lady told me about this one thay had out back. It had been onsite for 5 years and they never sold it. When I saw it, I had to have it.

Priced at $50. 25% off made it $37.50. They let me steal it for $30. I can get about 3 trees out of it, including one nice raft.

[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Chinese%20Elm/22dbbea1.jpg[/img]

Rosaelyn
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Very nice tree. Lots of potential, like you said. And I luv your "Vanna White" too. ;)
Rosaelyn @}>---'---,---

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

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