Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 10:27 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Chinese Elm turned olive tree

I asked a friend to bonsai-sit my trees for me ten days over the holidays with careful instructions. Big mistake. :shock: I hadn't realized that his apartment is super hot and dry (his landlord is from Barbados and likes to keep the building that warm!)

One tree was fine, but the other one, a tiny (6" tall) chinese elm got bone dry. It dried out so fast that the leaves didn't even fall off-- but they are crisp and bleached olive in color.

I am trying to keep it alive. I soaked it thoroughly and have placed it getting soft south light (the only one in my apartment). I have pruned off the leaves, branch tips and dead wood until the limb looks at least somewhat green in cross section. Is there anything else I can do to optimize its slim chances of survival? (I have just bought Bonsai Techniques I by John Naka on the advice of this forum, but it has not arrived yet.)

Some things I was considering: (1) keeping the plant under a purple grow light for extra hours at night (in addition to its normal daylight), (2) putting a loose plastic bag over it with air holes to create a more humid environment (out of strong light)

Any thoughts on ways to stabilize a once healthy but badly shocked tree?

The Helpful Gardener
Posts: 7491
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

I like the plastic basg idea; applications of micorhizal supplements and /or Superthrive might help as well, and use warm water fro watering and misting.

Real miniatures can dry quickly and that's why I recommend larger plants for most folks; only one member of my bonsai group tackles mihos and he's retired and has the time. Hope your tree is ok...


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