bill4rest
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Help with bonsai

Hello all,

I've no doubt that this type of query occurs on this forum too regularly, but I would just like someone to set my mind at ease, or give me some pointers!

My girlfriend bought me a bonsai tree as a house warming gift, and as I used to keep bonsai trees, this was a great gift for me. However, this was from a shop in London, and I live in the North...I have had it for a month now, and I notice that the tree is losing leaves, however there are quite a few new shoots growing all over the tree. I have pruned these as appropriate, and there are more still growing, so I guess overall the tree is healthy...I am inclined to think that the loss of leaves is due to change of climate. I have been very careful with the amount of water I give the tree, and have never let it completely dry out. What could be the cause of this? Would very much appreciate any advice and thanks in advance. The tree is Chinese Elm by the way!

Thanks,

Bill

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Bill,

Hello and welcome. Can you please describe the soil your tree is potted in? Is it dense and peaty or loose and gravelly?
I have been very careful with the amount of water I give the tree, and have never let it completely dry out.
Dense soils, that many commercial bonsai are potted in, can be difficult to water correctly. Are you watering a little often or generously and less often.

Always water copiously then allow a drying period. Proper watering is more about frequency rather than the quantity which should always be copious. If you water in often in small quantities you could not be wetting the soil thoroughly, or conversely, the soil may be staying soggy, hard to say with the limited information you have given us so far. Pictures always help.

I take it you are attempting to keep it indoors. Is that correct?

Norm

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ElizabethB
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My experience with bonsai is limited to killing several. On the other hand my brother has been very succesful with both store bought trees and starting and training his own. He gave me 2 in May with instructions to switch them out one inside and one outside every 2 weeks. Kind of made sence to me. Bonsai are stunted trees and shrubs that normally grow outdoors. He also told me to be careful with water - one of those no real answer things - not too wet but not dry either. Ow well - so far so good. The longest I have kept a bonsai without killing it.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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rainbowgardener
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You didn't say what kind of trees. It is true that many trees do better outside and failing being outside all the time, would benefit from some exposure to outside. But some trees, ficus being a famous example and a popular bonsai tree, really do not liked to be moved and would do better staying in one place, even indoors, a lot longer. It is probably easier for you, in LA, because indoor and outdoor temps aren't so different. But still there are differences in light, wind, etc. Usually plants need to be hardened off to move outdoors. You wouldn't want to be hardening your trees off all the time.
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ElizabethB
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One is some kind of juniper and the other is an azalea. Like I said - no claim to knowledge just sharing my own goofy experience. nutz:
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

lucenda
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Location: chicago

You are right; that the loss of leaves is due to change of climate. A Chinese Elm does go into dormancy. It needs some cold in the winter. I have mine outside; the roots protected with mulch.

Search here for the chopstick method; it is a good way to see if the tree needs water. There is also a lot of info available on this forum about the Chinese Elm.

Maybe you can post a picture? Good luck with your tree!

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