dalehg
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:52 am
Location: Cape Town

chinese elm

Hi

I have a chinese elm, planted 1974. We had very hot weather last summer and since then i have really battled to get it back to it's former glory. I had it indoors for the first year i had it. when i moved i put it out doors. it recieved morning sun and then shade in the afternoon. was growing really well till we had excesive hot weather over basically one day. since then it has really battled. goes through stages when it is coming right and then looses all it's leaves again. a lot of buds came up recently and then all dies off. think maybe they got burnt? but is now not looking good at all.

any help brining my little elm back to full glory would be greatly appreciated.


Cheers

alexinoklahoma
Senior Member
Posts: 273
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:21 pm
Location: Central Oklahoma

Chinese elm *loves it hot - mine stay full-sun in 100+F weather, and have zero issues. If all is well, such as soil, fert, and watering, there would be nno issue with what you've said so far. We need a bit more info here. I am assuming you are in S Africa - Cape Town?? No idea of weather there, but should be within elm limits, IMO, as they are very tolerant of temp-ranges.

What soil, when last repotted, how do you water it (regular on schedule or as-needed only) - and do you have any pics? I am VERY interested in the soil used as first point ;)

And you say this is a tree of about 34yrs age? If it is in a tight root-restricting bonsai pot, definitely need to know about repotting efforts/times. How long have *you* owned it, and how many years have you successfully kept it healthy and vigorous? No insult meant, just curious as to your experience and overall understanding of pot-culture/growing methods.

Let's start there - a small story of your overall history/methods of the last two frowing seasons (and has it been dormant at all over the last three calendar years???)... I suspect that the tree is very weak from lack of dormancy, but just a guess (more info, please, on dormancy methods used, if any)

Fwiw, intense-sun will not harm elm leaves that are accustomed/acclimated to it - they can possibly burn if a full-time indoors-tree is placed suddenly out into scalding sun without gradual acclimation, but any/all regrowth will adapt as it extends, so there is an end-point to leaf-burn (make sense?). When new buds fail to extend/live, something else is most definitely the issue(s) ;)

Is it possible to gently/easily lift rootball a bit to see if there is *any* growing space left within soil? Just a quick peek is all I mean - and if there's any resistance in lifting tree, forgo that...do no harm :) A seriously root-bound tree can show symptoms such as you describe (but so can many other things, too, of course).

Alex

dalehg
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:52 am
Location: Cape Town

I have had the tree for over two years with absolutley no problems.
Last Summer Cape Town had a sudden heat wave, my tree was on the covered veranda but not in full sun. within 24 hours every leaf on the tree had turned brown and eventually dropped off. It never really recovered although produced some half hearted leaves.
Two months ago (Winter) my mum(she is a very succcessful outdoor gardener) took it home (250km away) and repotted it with commercial bonsai mix and although the roots were not pot- bound she trimmed them slightly as also the branches, replaced the water drainage netting and potted and stablised the trunk. within a few weeks my tree started to bud ... about 8 fresh new buds and then a week later they too died off. she trimmed back the dead end branches in the hope that it would revive it (three weeks ago).She is watering it on demand by standing in fresh rain water to which she adds a nip of phostrogen plant granules.
She puts it in the morning sun and then back on the covered veranda(plenty of air circulating) as they get very strong east and west wind at the river.Still no sign of life !!!
The chinese snow rose which she is also caring for is doing well after a prune at the same time but did not repot.
She is now concerned that it slowly dying back and will not come on again ... the are plenty of nodes on the remaining branches.


Many Thanks

Dale[/img]

alexinoklahoma
Senior Member
Posts: 273
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:21 pm
Location: Central Oklahoma

OK - thanks for the more-detailed care layout :)

I am going to plead a bit of ignorance as to S Africa's seasonal weather temps/averages and such. Lemme ask once again - has tree ever been dormant?? Like lost all leaves and gone to sleep for a 'winter rest' like most other deciduous trees need here in the north? I truly do not know if your area gets a winter (or anti-warmth time, LOL) such as this hemisphere does. I know it sounds silly for me saying this, but I believe things are a bit different 'down south' (?). If the tree has not had a dormancy in several years, it would be showing the same symptoms pretty much, IMO. Elms just run out of energy without their yearly 'naps' in essence. Can you please 'educate me' as to if your winters (or summers if things are bass-ackwards to northern hemisphere seasons)) actually allow trees to go dormant? <I feel really ignorant asking, but have always wondered about this aspect of the down-below persons, but never wanted to come out and ask>

I'll wait on answer so I do not throw out guesses of no concern or applicability. I assume that 'commercial bonsai mix' is just a loose gritty soil as always preached about (you do seem to know what's up, IMO). And Elms do not mind winds - here in Oklahoma, my elms are allowed to take full brunt of semi-tornadic winds and the branches are very tough on this, IME. I do brace the pots against -fall-over, but wind is good if/when roots can hold tree within the pot. I would opt for more-sun -v- less-wind myself, but that's only a thought -> not 'lecturing' ya at all :)

Just saw another thing - adding the fert(s)... Is it possible it is over-fert'd if Mom (or whomever) adds fert on more than a 'scheduled' rate? I see there are more than one types of 'phostrogen' ferts available - what's the numbers on that of the NPK? 10-10-10 or such? More ignorance on my part on this fert, but it did google right up :) If a tree is not growing, it does not need any fert(s)...

Immersion watering isn't the best way to do things, but its ~OK usually. Much better to water from above (several times of pouring @ each watering-event) to let water-column pull fresh air through the root-system as it flows downward and out of pot. A lot less chance of getting anaerobic areas within soil. I also assume that "on-demand watering" is when the soil is mostly dry an inch or two sub-surface, right?

Awaiting your answer on dormancy issue,
Alex

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