Nazgul79
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:08 am
Location: Manchester

Help my new Chinese elm is losing leaves fast.!!

My girlfriend has bought me a Chinese elm from the Christmas markets. It's about 10 inches tall with a thick miss over the soil, I've done as the instructions said and watered once a week with water cooled from a boiled kettle in a clean bowl with the tree placed in about an inch up the trunk for about 30 minutes. I've done this once a week but it is losing leaves fast. They are turning brown and falling off even if I blow on it. The soil seems to be quite wet. Am I over watering, under watering (can't see it being that because like I said the soil under the moss seems well damp.
What is going wrong please help me.

Thank you
Hi

User avatar
ElizabethB
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2109
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Your soil may be too wet or your plant may not be getting enough natural light. Remember that bonsai are stunted outdoor plants. There are experienced folks on this forum who can advise you on lighting requirements.

Best of luck.
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

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

If your soil is staying wet, you are over watering. Read about the chopstick method for knowing when to water in this thread:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/v ... thod#66509

Here's a fact sheet about Chinese Elm bonsai care:

https://www.nebonsai.com/Chinese_elm.pdf

It's just some guidelines and places to start while you get to know your tree.
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

Nazgul79
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:08 am
Location: Manchester

Hi, thank you both very much. Very helpful x
Hi

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Northern temperate trees have a period of dormancy, that aught to be evident about now,

During dormancy leaves will drop, and transpiration will decrease.

Successful bonsai soil should be mostly inorganic gravel (and only some bark mulch)

Wet soil composed of mostly organic material or very fine soil (like loess) will become anoxic and will suffocate your outdoor tree.

My speculation is: your soil was potted with soil not suited for trees, and is being kept indoors, leading to break down of the roots.

Please advise if I am characterising your tree innacurately
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

Nazgul79
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:08 am
Location: Manchester

Hi yes you are quite right the soil is very dense and is just normal soil, it has thick moss on the top so it's quite hard to delve in proper but from what I can see there isn't much in the way of gravel or bark just thick dense very wet soil. Because it was bought on a Christmas market it has obviously been grown and is used to being outside but I live in an appartment and have got to keep it inside.

So do you think the leaf loss is normal and what if it loses all its leaves.? Does this mean it will die or will they return in spring.
I'm keeping on a window sill but not in direct sunlight so it's getting as much natural light as possible and the window is open a crack while I'm out at work all day.

Also is it worth getting some bonsai food and should I repot in a more suitable growing medium.?

Thank you very much for your help.
Hi

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Nazgul79 wrote:Because it was bought on a Christmas market it has obviously been grown and is used to being outside but I live in an apartment and have got to keep it inside.
I think your elm is a hearty deciduous tree, meaning its only possible residence is outdoors.

You may be able to keep a fig alive in that pot with adaquate supplimental lighting.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

Nazgul79
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:08 am
Location: Manchester

Hi, so is it definately going to die if I keep it indoors.?
Hi

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

That's not what it says in that fact sheet I linked. But tom is a bonsai grower and I am not.
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

Nazgul79
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:08 am
Location: Manchester

Hi, yes that's what I thought after I read the linked fact sheet. I thought it would lose some leaves just because it's winter and very cold at the moment. There's nothing I can do with at the moment, I can't really feed it. So all I can do is sit and wait it out and hope the leaves come back after winter.

Unless anyone knows of some action I can take, because I'm not sure if it's a good time to re-pot the tree in a more suitable growing medium like gravel and bark, with it being winter. Is this a good time to do this or will it stress the tree even more...?
Hi

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Nazgul79,
I thought it would lose some leaves just because it's winter and very cold at the moment.
Diminishing day length, not temperature, is the primary trigger in deciduous trees losing their leaves. Furthermore my Chinese Elms tend to hold their leaves well into winter so I would not attribute the leaf loss to temperature. BTW, how cold is it in your apartment?

The source of your current problems is more than likely the constantly wet soil, it really needs to be re-potted into a more appropriate medium. This is always a tough call, whether to re-pot a tree in distress. You may save it or you may hasten it's demise. You have not indicated if you have read the information that RBG suggested concerning the chopstick method of judging when to water. This is a must.

If you are going to succeed with indoor bonsai supplemental lighting is going to be necessary, very few species will thrive without it.

Norm

Nazgul79
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:08 am
Location: Manchester

Hi, thank you for your advice, I have read the chopstick method and will use it, like I said the soil is quite damp.
Should I re-pot, and what exactly should I re-pot into (gravel/bark/soil.?) and what amounts of each.? should I use the same pot.? The pot it is in is as wide as the tree and is glazed. I'm a total beginner here and the tree was a gift from my girlfriend and really don't want to lose it.
What temperature range should it be in through the day and night,? in the day while I'm at work I put it on a window sill not in direct sunlight. I live in Manchester UK and its very cold right now, as low as -4 even through the day, I crack the window slightly for fresh air but will the tee be too cold.?
Also what is meant by supplemental lighting. Is daylight not enough.?

Thank you for any helpful advise.[/img]
Hi

Nazgul79
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:08 am
Location: Manchester

Also how do I put a picture up on here.? I'm doing all this on my iPhone.?
Hi

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Nazgul79,
Should I re-pot, and what exactly should I re-pot into (gravel/bark/soil.?) and what amounts of each.?
Read this thread in order to begin to understand bonsai soil. Until you grasp the basics, and acquire the components, any question of re-potting is purely academic. As I mentioned earlier, re-potting a tree in distress is always a crap-shoot, you might improve matters or make it worse.

I don't understand why you mention how cold it is outside if the tree is in your apartment.

In order to post pictures you must first host them on a third party site and then post the link here.

Norm

Nazgul79
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:08 am
Location: Manchester

I mention how cold it is because like I said when I'm out all day at work I put the tree on the window sill with the window open slightly for fresh air. I was asking if this is the right thing to do with it being frosty outside, this is why I mentioned the outside temperature. So I was asking the correct temperature range it should be kept in through the day.

Thank you
Hi

Nazgul79
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:08 am
Location: Manchester

I mention how cold it is because like I said when I'm out all day at work I put the tree on the window sill with the window open slightly for fresh air. I was asking if this is the right thing to do with it being frosty outside, this is why I mentioned the outside temperature. So I was asking the correct temperature range it should be kept in through the day.

Thank you
Hi

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Nazgul79,
So I was asking the correct temperature range it should be kept in through the day.
The temperatures that the tree will likely be subjected to in your apartment will not harm a Chinese Elm, they are hardy trees that are not injured by low, temperatures.

Presuming the tree was kept outside until recently it may have, as Tom mentioned, already been entering dormancy. Cool temps might even be to your advantage right now. What happens when you come home and turn up the heat?
Also what is meant by supplemental lighting. Is daylight not enough.?
The light a tree receives in your home is not nearly equivalent to being outside. Unless you have an unobstructed south facing window additional lighting is strongly recommended.

Norm

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”