Kacey52
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:18 pm
Location: Michigan

brand new to bonsai need pruning help

Hi all. I'm new here and new to bonsai. I have a Chinese Elm. When I bought it I also got a grow light that automatically turns on and off in tune with the different seasons. The tree seems to be doing well. When I first got it it did drop a fair amount of leaves, but it quickly grew new ones. My question is how do I prune it. The leaves on the new growth are bigger and I'm afraid it's going to lose it's miniature look. I have googled it but I don't really understand what I'm reading. I have pruned it once but I want to learn more about it before I do it again. If I can figure out how to get pictures on here I'll post some. Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it :)

JTred
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There are lots of different types of pruning and what you want from your tree will determine exactly what you want to do. There is pruning for shape, which is simply removing the branches you don't like; similarly there's directional pruning, where you prune back to the bud that is pointed in the direction you want. There is also maintenance pruning, which is simply pruning off the branches that take the tree "out of shape". Another way to do this is to just pinch off the growth buds. One final technique which is used to reduce leaf size is defoliation, or cutting off most or all of the leaves off. I don't really advise this, because it sounds like your tree is just adjusting. Maybe you could post a picture and we could give some more info.

-Jack

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rainbowgardener
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Here's the instructions for posting pictures here:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724

bottom line is that you can't upload them directly from your computer; they need to be on-line first on some kind of photo hosting site, like photobucket.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Kacey52
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:18 pm
Location: Michigan

Here are some pictures of my tree. (I hope they show up.) If anyone can help me out with pruning tips or advice I would really appreciate it. Thanks [img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2945-1.jpg[/img][img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2946.jpg[/IMG[IMG]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2949.jpg[/IMG[IMG]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2948.jpg[/IMG[IMG]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2948.jpg[/IMG[IMG]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2947.jpg[/img]

Kacey52
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Location: Michigan

Ok, I tried to put 6 pictures on here and only one showed up. I'll see if I can get the rest posted.

Kacey52
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Alright, here's some more.
[img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2949.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2948.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2947.jpg[/img]

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bonsaiboy
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There are several methods of pruning (well, styling), all of which are used to give the tree a different "feel". However, in your circumstance, I wouldn't worry so much about these pruning methods as about the basics. First off, it is important to understand that most trees only produce new branches from buds growing from the leafs. So when you prune, it is important to get it right next to a leaf. Second, if you want a lot of secondary branching on the branch that you're pruning, you may want to defoliate it. It is a good idea to prune down to a bud that is pointing in the same direction you want the new branch to grow.

As for the style, that is up to you. Your tree looks like it could be trained as a broom or an informal upright; your choice.
הדמיון הוא יותר חשוב מאשר ידע

Charles M
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Location: Orange County, CA

The basic technique for Chinese Elm is to prune each long shoot back to two or three pairs of leaves. I notice that tree is putting on a lot of top growth at the expense of lower growth, and I suspect that is because it is only getting sufficient light from above. Thinning/cutting back the top growth will allow light to penetrate the lower parts of the tree and hopefully lead to a more balanced-looking tree.

Kacey52
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:18 pm
Location: Michigan

Thanks everyone for your help. I have pruned my tree twice recently. I took quite a few pictures before and after of the first prune. I will post them as soon as I can get them downloaded. I pruned it again last night trying to thin out the top a little to allow some light to get through to the bare lower branches. I do have some buds forming already ( I'm sure from the other pruning, but they should really take off now :) ) Thanks again!! Hopefully I'll have pictures up soon :)

Kacey52
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:18 pm
Location: Michigan

Ok, got the pictures from my phone. I took one from every angle before and after pruning. Let me know what you think.

Before

[img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2977.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2976.jpg[/img][img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2978.jpg[/img][img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2975.jpg[/img]

After

[img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2979.jpg[/img][img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2981.jpg[/img][img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2982.jpg[/img][img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2980.jpg[/img]

What I cut off

[img]https://i1093.photobucket.com/albums/i427/Kacey052/IMG_2983.jpg[/img]

buburt
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Location: Oroville, Ca

the first picture of your last group looks like the best front and if you agree you should off the low branch coming toward the camera
Burt

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