desco976
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chinese elm issue

Hello,

I just purchased a chinese elm. It is losing it's leaves. I checked it for any bugs and it doesn't seem to have any. The leaves are turning yellow with green spots. Over all the plant looks healthy. I read that they will loose some of their leaves in fall. The room it's in is one wall of south facing glass. The room temp is between 60-64. Aside from a humidity tray, what else can I do?

Thanks,

Michael

ynot
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Michael,

When you purchased the tree was it indoors, or in an unheated nursery or greenhouse?

It does make a major difference. if it was kept outside [Which is what this seems to indicate] your tree is preparing for dormancy and needs to continue with it which will involve being kept outdoors until spring time.

Overwatering is also often associated with yellowing/dropping leaves. Please tell a bit about your watering habits as well as how long you have had the tree.

Please review this care sheet about Chinese elms: https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Ulmus.html
There are many more articles on that site as well that you may find both informative and usefull. I suggest reading the ones on Beginners first bonsai, Watering, Winter care, and Soil to start.

A photo would also be most helpfull. :)

ynot
Last edited by ynot on Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

desco976
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ynot wrote:Micheal,

When you purchased the tree was it indoors, or in an unheated nursery or greenhouse?

It does make a major difference. if it was kept outside [Which is what this seems to indicate] your tree is preparing for dormancy and needs to continue with it which will involve being kept outdoors until spring time.

Overwatering is also often associated with yellowing/dropping leaves. Please tell a bit about your watering habits as well as how long you have had the tree.

Please review this care sheet about Chinese elms: https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Ulmus.html
There are many more articles on that site as well that you may find both informative and usefull. I suggest reading the ones on Beginners first bonsai, Watering, Winter care, and Soil to start.

A photo would also be most helpfull. :)

ynot
Hello,

It was in a semiheated greenhouse. I have only watered it once. It came with glued rock on it,which I reomved as soon as I got it. My concern is winterizing it. If I do have to put it outdoors,what can I do in Chicago?


Any help would be great.. I'll work on the picture for you

MagicDan
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check it out

desco,

Check out my adventures with a Walsai (if you already haven't) We are discussing my Chinese Elm. Ynot and Gnome have provided some great information.

MD

ynot
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desco976 wrote: It was in a semiheated greenhouse. I have only watered it once.
Once in how long? [This may be an issue right here.] Wrt to watering it is important to note {and I do it often} that it is not possible to water effectively on a schedule. No schedule [No matter how well planned] addresses this question:

Does the tree need water?

In order to know this you must check the tree every single day. BUT you only water when it needs it. Do not simply feel the surface of the soil as it may be wet underneath, You need to dig in there 2 knuckles deep and feel. Is it moist? [Not soaking-just moist] if so it does not need water.
When it is time to water, Do it completely.
Meaning you continue to water until the water is running out of the drainage holes. Then in about 10 minutes you repeat the process to insure a complete soaking of the rootball.

It is important that you do it twice as it is likely that much of the first watering ran off the surface of the soil and down the inside of the pot. [This is due to surface tension and other inconvenient properties of liquids. :x ] Which is not very helpfull to the tree.
It came with glued rock on it,which I removed as soon as I got it
. Good call!
desco976 wrote:My concern is winterizing it. If I do have to put it outdoors,what can I do in Chicago?
No worries at all, You have plenty of 'outdoors' in Chicago, I am sure of it as I have lived there. [ I am kidding w/ you. :P :wink:]

First, do read the articles I suggested in the links given. Here is a bit about overwintering [A Chinese elm in upstate NY] I just posted in another thread this evening.
It absolutely applies here also:
ynot wrote:Since it has been acclimating to the dropping temps and lower light levels outside-Continuing that would be the best bet.

If you have a screened unheated porch or a garage that would be fine although if you feel the need you could place the whole thing in a container of some sort that has mulch in the bottom and surrounding the pot, cover the top of the soil and up to the first branch. Do not use straw, It will rot after it gets wet. This would provide some temp insulation. I suggest a 2$ [url=https://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=pond+baskets&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&sa=X&oi=froogle&ct=title/url]pond basket[/url]from wal-mart/lowes/h-despot.

What ever you use, It's required that water can drain through it. [BTW, The pond baskets make excellent training pots also-Talk about drainage!]
Keep in mind that for the most part w/ cold hardy trees it is not the temperature itself that is the danger [unless unusually excessive] it is the wind.
Some [small amount] moisture will still be lost from sun/wind and frozen roots have no way to replace this loss. So a sheltered area if possible is best. Snow is an excellent insulator by the way.
Keep in mind also that after your tree loses its leaves [No leaves= No photosythesis] it does not require sunlight. So even the dark garage will be fine.
Here are two fine articles wrt overwintering:
https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_WinterCare.html
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/overwint.htm
That is from this thread: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=19234#19234

Saved myself some time there. :wink:

BTW traditionally bonsai is an outside activity, Trees after all live outside.
Some of them [From tropical or sub tropical climates] can adapt to some degree to indoor culture provided you strive to keep them comfortable.

I hope this info is helpfull.
ynot

vdotson
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Chinese Elm

My chinese elem was losing leaves constantly after I purchased it this past spring. I tired everythng I knew plus what was recommended in this site( take it oustide, give it fresh air, etc.). Nothing seemed to work. It was losing leaves faster than it was growing new ones. :( Finally, during Labor day weekend, I decided to repot it. I didn't know what else to do. Interstingly enough, it appeared to me to be pot bound. Also, I placed it in my basement under a fluorescent light. I put a timer on the light so it would be on for 16 hours per day. At this point it looked like just a bunch of sticks and looked that way for the next 4 weeks. I was ready to toss it, but my husband convinced me ot be more paitnet. For once I listed ot him and within 2 weeks I had over 2 dozen buds. All leaf drop ceased and now I have a very healthy plant that is growing like a weed. :D Don't know if this will help you. Just thought I would share my experience.

desco976
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Re: Chinese Elm

vdotson wrote:My chinese elem was losing leaves constantly after I purchased it this past spring. I tired everythng I knew plus what was recommended in this site( take it oustide, give it fresh air, etc.). Nothing seemed to work. It was losing leaves faster than it was growing new ones. :( Finally, during Labor day weekend, I decided to repot it. I didn't know what else to do. Interstingly enough, it appeared to me to be pot bound. Also, I placed it in my basement under a fluorescent light. I put a timer on the light so it would be on for 16 hours per day. At this point it looked like just a bunch of sticks and looked that way for the next 4 weeks. I was ready to toss it, but my husband convinced me ot be more paitnet. For once I listed ot him and within 2 weeks I had over 2 dozen buds. All leaf drop ceased and now I have a very healthy plant that is growing like a weed. :D Don't know if this will help you. Just thought I would share my experience.
vdotson,

Thanks so much for your input. Mine has somewhat slowed down on the leaf drop. Right now though we are gonig into a gray area,if the tree is losing leaves do to fall or something else. Unfortunatly it's to late in the season to repot it. At this point I'll just hope for the best.

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Michael,

You wrote:
Right now though we are gonig into a gray area,if the tree is losing leaves do to fall or something else.
If you are still keeping the tree indoors the change of season should not have anything to do with your leaf drop.

Also:
Unfortunatly it's to late in the season to repot it.
This is not necessarily the case. Chinese Elms can be managed as outdoor or indoor bonsai. Altough I strongly suggest outside, by keeping it inside you are circumventing the trees natural schedule of hardening off which is a gradual process beginning shortly after Summer solstice. If you intend to keep it inside a repot may be benificial especially if your soil is less than ideal as is the case with most mass produced trees. What is the soil like? Heavy in peat I would wager. It should be in a very free draining mix heavy in a gritty component.

Norm

desco976
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Gnome wrote:Michael,

You wrote:
Right now though we are gonig into a gray area,if the tree is losing leaves do to fall or something else.
If you are still keeping the tree indoors the change of season should not have anything to do with your leaf drop.

Also:
Unfortunatly it's to late in the season to repot it.
This is not necessarily the case. Chinese Elms can be managed as outdoor or indoor bonsai. Altough I strongly suggest outside, by keeping it inside you are circumventing the trees natural schedule of hardening off which is a gradual process beginning shortly after Summer solstice. If you intend to keep it inside a repot may be benificial especially if your soil is less than ideal as is the case with most mass produced trees. What is the soil like? Heavy in peat I would wager. It should be in a very free draining mix heavy in a gritty component.

Norm
Gnome,

My Elm has been outdoors for almost three weeks now. It's tips are still slowly growing. The leaf drop, like I said has really slowed down. However, it has been in the 30's here so it's only a matter of time before all of the leaves go. The dirt is your basic garden soil mix it came from *sigh* Wal-Mart...

I went to Wal-Mart today because it was the first of the month and they mark down things. Well, in the garden center was four bonsai's I have been watching. Two Ficus and one Ponytail palm. When I got there, they were gone. Rather than disount them out any farther, they pitched them!

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Michael,

Sorry I'm a bit confused. One week ago you wrote:
I just purchased a chinese elm. The room it's in is one wall of south facing glass. The room temp is between 60-64.
Today you wrote:
My Elm has been outdoors for almost three weeks now.
This doesn't add up, but i guess it really doesn't matter if your tree is doing OK now. Have you made arrangements for it's winter storage? I leave mine out until they go fully dormant and then store them in an unheated garage. I have also left them out and mulched them well.

Watch your watering, that type of soil tends to hold too much water. You will want to re-pot in the spring before it leafs out. Start your research regarding proper soil mixes so you will be ready.

Norm

desco976
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Gnome wrote:Michael,

Sorry I'm a bit confused. One week ago you wrote:
I just purchased a chinese elm. The room it's in is one wall of south facing glass. The room temp is between 60-64.
Today you wrote:
My Elm has been outdoors for almost three weeks now.
This doesn't add up, but I guess it really doesn't matter if your tree is doing OK now. Have you made arrangements for it's winter storage? I leave mine out until they go fully dormant and then store them in an unheated garage. I have also left them out and mulched them well.

Watch your watering, that type of soil tends to hold too much water. You will want to re-pot in the spring before it leafs out. Start your research regarding proper soil mixes so you will be ready.

Norm
Gnome,

You got me! I appologize.. I have had the plant for almost two weeks but it as you pointed out , has only been outdoors for a week. I bought some pine mulch and I ordered the pond pot. I checked the tree this morning and it was frozen solid in it's pot. I'm not panicing, but this will interesting.. Should I wait until all of the leaves fall off before I put the tree in my garage for winter?

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Michael,
I checked the tree this morning and it was frozen solid in it's pot. I'm not panicing, but this will interesting..
A frozen pot does not necessarily mean frozen roots. Brent Walston states that temperate trees need no protection down to 15f. Chinese Elms are subtropical however and may not be quite as hardy.

All I can do is recount my experiences and you will have to play it by ear. I purchased my first one in 2004 and over-wintered it in an unheated garage. This location is aboveground, uninsulated and is on the north side of my home so it stays very cool all winter. At times it drops below freezing but not by much and not for long. The tree came through this winter with no problems.

Last year I purchased a second variety and over-wintered both outside on the ground against a landscape wall, and mulched with shredded leaves. Again I had no problems. This year at a bonsai show I met a grower who told me that he thought I got lucky keeping them outside all year.

This year I have two more varieties and intend to go back to the garage just to be safe. It will take more attention from me than if I leave them out but that's OK.
Should I wait until all of the leaves fall off before I put the tree in my garage for winter?
I don't think that falling leaves is a reliable indicator, some trees retain their leaves with more tenacity than others. In coming years you will just get the feel for it.

What I think is relevant though is the temperatures inside your garage. If it is too warm your tree may be encouraged to break dormancy too soon. Perhaps you can find an interim location outside that provides some protection and wait a while longer. If the tree is on the ground it will retain more heat than if it is on a wall or bench. Push some leaves or mulch around it if you can.

By the way, not to confuse matters even more, some people bring their Chinese Elms indoors after only part of the winter has passed at which point they leaf out and are treated as indoor trees. I don't do this and don't really suggest it unless you are able to provide excellent conditions.

What does the Pine mulch look like? I ask because it may be a useful component in your soil mix net spring.

Norm

desco976
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Gnome,

The mulch I have is cedar mulch. It has finer particles,not to many big pieces. I wanted a mulch that would be more like a blanket.

I have to ask another question that I might of already asked. Watering. The top of the soil looks a bit dry,but a popped the elm out of it's pot and the dirt on the bottom is black. So I know at the base there is still water. If I water it,and the dirt is frozen,how do I know if I got watered? Should I bring it in the house and submerse the pot?

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Michael,
If I water it,and the dirt is frozen,how do I know if I got watered?
Simple, don't water it when it is frozen. At this time of year you will still be having occasional daytime temps that rise above freezing, right? Water on warmer days, early in the day so that excess water can drain before temps drop below freezing again. If the soil in the bottom of the pot is still wet then don't water yet.

Be aware though that watering requirements will be lessened this time of year. Low temps reduce water loss through evaporation and diminishing photosynthesis will lessen water loss through transpiration. You may go for a week or more without watering. Same advice as earlier in the year, check daily and only water as necessary. Just don't let it go really dry.

By the way, plants grow in soil, dirt is what you track into the house. :wink:

Norm

vdotson
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You may also want to take a look at "HOW I'VE BEEN GROWING BONSAI INDOORS UNDER FLOURESCENT LIGHT *

by Jack Wikle (Ann Arbor, Michigan)https://www.fukubonsai.com/2b2a2a.html.

Very interesting web page. A bit radical compared to what I've read in my bonsai books, but I'm giving his approach a try this winter and so far, my 4 bonsai (lantana camara, chinese elm, boxwood microphylla, Portulacaria Afra) are thriving :o

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vdotson wrote:You may also want to take a look at "HOW I'VE BEEN GROWING BONSAI INDOORS UNDER FLOURESCENT LIGHT *

by Jack Wikle (Ann Arbor, Michigan)https://www.fukubonsai.com/2b2a2a.html.
lol- I might be more inclined to read that article if 'Fluorescent' was spelled correctly in the title....:razz: :wink: :?

ynot

vdotson
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Don't be put off or confused by spelling or typing errors :wink: But if you are, that's ok too. No requirement to read it. Life, as we know it, will not come to an end. :)

ynot
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vdotson wrote:Don't be put off or confused by spelling or typing errors :wink: But if you are, that's ok too. No requirement to read it. Life, as we know it, will not come to an end. :)
Trats thue....;)

Actually, There is some info in there I quite agree with.
I was just pointing out that errors of that sort occasionally sway peoples opinion of the information within before they even see it.
Sadly, One need not look too far to find erronious [mis]information that is badly edited.

ynot

vdotson
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"Actually, There is some info in there I quite agree with. " - I'd be very interested in knowing what you agree with and what you don't agree with. I've read many articles, books on bonsai and have talked to a couple of horticulturists (hope that's how it's spelled) and, of course, opinions vary considerably. I've just been "winging" it, based on what makes sense to me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. However my trees are still alive :shock: , so I guess I'm not too far off base. So when you get the chance....

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vdotson wrote:"Actually, There is some info in there I quite agree with. " - I'd be very interested in knowing what you agree with and what you don't agree with. I've read many articles, books on bonsai and have talked to a couple of horticulturists (hope that's how it's spelled) and, of course, opinions vary considerably. I've just been "winging" it, based on what makes sense to me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. However my trees are still alive :shock: , so I guess I'm not too far off base. So when you get the chance....
Everyone is winging it...lol- Because we all have our own set of circumstances to deal with.

The key is adaptability. [Tweaking others advice to your specific set of circumstances] This is what makes the difference between 'survival' and 'thriving'- IMO.

Ever hear anyone say 'See, My dog is surviving.....' ?:wink:


There are several statements I could entirely support from this article.

IE:
Having said you can grow bonsai in window light, I still feel you make it easier for yourself and your indoor trees --- especially if window space is limited --- if you substitute even the most economical kind of fluorescent lighting for window light. The major advantage here is that light availability is very consistent without fluctuations due to extremes of sun and cloudiness; temperatures are more even also.

What you can do is simple enough. A standard four foot, two tube, 40 watt fluorescent unit --- we are talking about the shop light with reflector costing less than $20 at the local discount store --- is suspended or supported from below in such a way that the tubes are very close to --- almost touching --- the tops of your tallest bonsai. The tubes are cool white, cheaper than most others.
WRT watering:
Avoid keeping your soil constantly full of water.
His soil mix [Note that he notes the difference between Sphagnum moss and sphagnum peat]
This is in contrast to the sick tree standing abnormally long in water-logged soil because being weak it is not using much water, and because roots need oxygen to be efficient in taking up water even though it is all around them. Remember that soil physicists tell us oxygen diffuses 10,000 times faster through air than through water! I entirely agree and this is why I use a loose well draining soil.
Water AND Oxygen are required for healthy trees.
The mix I used longest and felt very comfortable with was one part, by volume, starter chicken grit (small particles of granite) available at stores dealing in livestock feed, two parts sphagnum peat (not sphagnum moss) available in bales at our local garden centers and three parts baked clay.
Fert routine: He uses a balanced fert [Excellent, However I do not dilute my ferts whatsoever as I see no point in intentionally ignoring the directions when using a product as [scientificly designed and engineered] specific as modern ferts.

I obviously agree with screening and I use another product by Profile [The makers of Turface] as my inorganic ingredient.

I disagree entirely with submersion as a regular watering practise. [My opinion on this is well known...lol, It is a terrible attempt to band-aid a problem that has a much more simple solution. ]

If it is REQUIRED for you to submerge your tree to get water to penetrate the soil/root mass, You need new soil


I cannot imagine how anyone would think that their tree is pushing roots through a soil media that water will not penetrate unless submerged.

This defies all logic.


IMO- it's misleading to suggest to people to grow Junipers inside.
Many people who read this article will think that just because he claims to have two junipers indoors for nearly 20 years that they think they can also [despite the fact that he obviously has some knowledge/skills and is not growing them on his tv set- It is akin to saying "Sigfreid & Roy train tigers... I bet I can too.", I note he does not mention if there are temp fluctuations {induced dormancy} within this 'indoor space']

Just my [albeit very quick] opinion on some of what I read there....

You did ask...lol :wink:

ynot

vdotson
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Thank you so much for your candid reply. It is much appreciated. :D Thought of another question..what is your view on rapeseed cake as a fertilizer. I haven't seen any posts or topics on this.... I've been using it and other than an unsightly appearance, it seems to be working...

ynot
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vdotson wrote: Thank you so much for your candid reply. It is much appreciated.
Your very welcome. :)
vdotson wrote:btw.}
vdotson wrote: :D Thought of another question..what is your view on rapeseed cake as a fertilizer. I haven't seen any posts or topics on this.... I've been using it and other than an unsightly appearance, it seems to be working...

I have not used them myself but the principles seem sound to me.

Prof. Amy Liang has a recipie to make them in her book 'The Living Art of Bonsai'

Do you use them in the little baskets?

ynot

vdotson
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Again, thank you so much for your quick response! :D

No I don't use little baskets. Not aware there were any! Advantages of using them?

I have another question for you, but will post as a separate topic ( I'm on a roll!)

ynot
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vdotson wrote:Again, thank you so much for your quick response! :D

No I don't use little baskets. Not aware there were any! Advantages of using them?
Your welcome :)
As far as advantages...Nothing of note, Just some of the homemade ones can be be messy [I have heard...] or maybe to keep critters from snacking on them.

I will try to find a link for them to edit into here, EDIT: [url=https://www.dallasbonsai.com/store/fertilizer_accessories.html]Here are the baskets I refer to.[/url] [:(]
I have another question for you, but will post as a separate topic ( I'm on a roll!)
LOL :)
ynot

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