centurion77
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Paris, France

Chinese Elm, is it dead?

I have a 5 yr old Chinese Elm that I bought around five months ago. in the past couple of months, it has turned brown and the leaves started falling off. I swiched to bottled water and the leaves no longer fall off but they are still brown and dry.
I no longer put fertilizer on it because I thought it maybe dormant for the winter.
My wife wants to toss it, but i don't want to give up on it.

kenb
Cool Member
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:15 pm
Location: INDIANA

do you have a picture of the tree you could show us? tell us a little about the tree. Soil consistancy, watering habits, is it kept outside or inside?

i don't know what the weather conditions are like where you live, but here it is definately going into the tree's dormant period. that could be what is going on there as well..

get back to us with some info..

welcome to the site!

Ken

centurion77
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Paris, France

Thanks, happy to be abord.
I bought it at a large surface greenhouse store this summer, like an idiot I watered it with tap water and filtered tap water, I bought Bonzai liquide fertilizer which I vaporized on it one every two weeks until two months ago (when the new green shoots withered and died..)
The soil is the one I got it in, it's compact and I keep it moist (water about once every two weeks).
I have to keep it inside, I put it on a bookshelf facing a window (most sunlight available)
Weather around Paris sucks (rain, cold, little sunlight)
It's winter here and my appartment is old, so the heating is on all day (The heater is about 2m away).
I hope it's just dormant.
How do I post pictures?

ynot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1219
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

[Excellent questions you posted Ken 8) ]

Hello centurion77, Welcome to the forum.
centurion77 wrote: How do I post pictures?
I am short on time at the moment so please read this:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557

There is a link near the bottom that re: Gnomes tutorial on posting pictures though you may find the entire thing helpful.
I bought it at a large surface greenhouse store this summer, like an idiot I watered it with tap water and filtered tap water,
'like an idiot'...:?: Why do you say that? I sincerely doubt that is a factor in this trees condition.

BTW, I use tap water all the time, I just let it sit for 24 hours first so so any residual water treatment chemicals can evaporate.
I bought Bonzai liquide fertilizer which I vaporized on it one every two weeks until two months ago (when the new green shoots withered and died..)
As I read this with your watering schedule below you are feeding nearly every time you water?...
Is that correct? When you combine this with your compact [practically non-draining] soil I expect you have a large amount of fert/salt built up in your soil. Quit the ferts for now.

EDIT: Sorry just noticed you were misting the ferts on, I would still quit them for now.


FYI - Except for the label [& possibly the price], There is no discernible difference between 'Bonsai fertilizer' and any old regular balanced fert.
The soil is the one I got it in, it's compact and I keep it moist (water about once every two weeks).
Considering how long it stays wet...This sounds like EXTREMELY compact soil :evil: [Which is NOT good btw - Please read the stickies at the top of the forum referencing 'bonsai soil']
I have to keep it inside, I put it on a bookshelf facing a window (most sunlight available)
It's winter here and my appartment is old, so the heating is on all day (The heater is about 2m away).
I hope it's just dormant.
It is most certainly NOT going dormant inside...Something else is going on - Possibly a lack of light [amongst other possibilities IE: Soil & watering] from the sound of it.

Here are some articles you should check out, This entire page is full of them: https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html
This one is also: https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm

Here is a care sheet for your species of tree: https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Ulmus.html

More later & I am sure others will chime in.

ynot

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

Its time to do a scratch-test and/or check the roots. I'd bet its in 'clayish'/highly water-retentive soil, and the roots are likely 'rotted' or pretty much non-feeder ('hairy', per se) in structure. *I* say assume its 'gone' until proven alive, so to speak. Sorry to be so cavalier on this one - but all the things said so far = real bad, guy :(

Scratch test is where you scrape a tiny bit of bark down close to soil-line to see if cambium is greenish ("alive and functional" -> cambium carries water/nutrition to leaves, fwiw) Just use a fingernail/butter-knife and very gently take off the thinnest amount of width/length possible until you see 'green' under the bark. If you must keep going fairly deep into the wood - its dead. if green shows, then we have something to work with ;)

Let us know - and do nothing else 'til we know of 'proof of Life' as its called, OK? No water, no (ferts). You may also see if the roots look OK - but a different thing there - that's the next step if the 'scratch-test' is passed...

TTYL, and hope the cambium *is* green(!),
Alex
< kenb -> good job, guy! there is hope, LOL!!! j / k >[/b]

centurion77
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Paris, France

Failed the scratch test....
If it wasn't so late in the season, I would have tried growing a maple or oak bonzai (is that possible?).
My father in law nused a bonzai like it was his child and it died on him, so I don't feel so bad considering my efforts.
Thanks alot in setting me strait on some issues of bonzai care.

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

centurion77,
I would have tried growing a maple or oak bonzai (is that possible?).
Both Maples and Oaks, depending on the species, can be utilized for bonsai.
My father in law nused a bonzai like it was his child and it died on him,
Sometime it is possible that too much attention is paid to a tree, most seem to do well with minimal intervention. A daily check for watering is the most important aspect of bonsai culture. Other than that, fertilization and a check for insect/disease is all that is regularly required, especially for younger material.

I suspect that this one was in a bad state when you purchased it.
The soil is the one I got it in, it's compact and I keep it moist (water about once every two weeks).
An actively growing tree in a decent potting mix will require watering much more often than that.

Don't give up, bonsai takes effort and persistence. We all lose trees, it is inevitable.

Norm

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

I am truly sorry to hear you lost 'a friend' :( However, a lesson, or more like many lessons, learned, huh? There will be more, and just remember each mistake - eventually, you'll get it all down and be consistently turning out great little trees. Its how everyone starts - getting their hands dirty and learning from mistakes made... We're here to help :)


Gnome is very spot-on about 'loving a tree to death'. I make it a point to try and keep my hands in pockets when I am ambling about my plants. That is so I do not fuss 'em and maybe even knock something over. Done that too often and I do what I can to not even touch them unless I *have* to..make sense??? I'm not saying "don't touch" in any way, but I am sure you know what I am getting at here :) Anything beyond what it *needs* can only lead to a worsening, then another unneeded action ad infinitum until death do ya part. Only takes a couple times of *that* to start keeping your hands in your pockets, LOL...

This is a great time of year to try and find an old 'nursery tree on-sale really cheap (hnt-hint) Keep your eyes open ;)

Alex

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