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I don't think my Chinese Elm is doing well

Hello, I've had my first bonsai tree (a Chinese elm) for little over a month now and am starting to worry that I'm not doing a good job looking after it. :(

I read that Chinese Elms are hardy trees that can withstand various outdoor weathers. I keep mine outside on the floor of my balcony (top floor, quite exposed). Recently, the British weather has gone from quite hot to moderate - but has become really windy. I have noticed that in the last two days, (when it started to get windy), the soil seems to dry out quite quickly, and I think some leaves have turned yellow/brown quite fast. (pictures attached). Does wind dry out the soil?


Secondly, when I first got the tree I also made the huge mistake of overwatering. Once I learned that overwatering is a bad thing, I cut it down to soaking once every two days (when the soil looked and felt dry, I'd stick my finger in about an inch of the soil to make sure that it felt dry before watering) I still *feel* that this is too much however, because when the soil is dry, there is a white substance on the surface of the soil. ... sort=3&o=4

Here is a closer look at the yellow/brown/scorched leaves.


And the overall look, a little bit closer.

I'm happy to receive any feedback that you guys may have. Thanks for your time!

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

Re: I don't think my Chinese Elm is doing well

I would test daily with a chop-stick for your elms need of water. All that poking may have a serendipitous dividend.

Your soil looks to be mostly peat-moss. Most trees in shallow pots need a much faster draining soil.

A short-term cheat is to poke several hundred holes through the soil-ball with a chop stick.

It will also help you to amend your signature line with a state and USDA zone. Where your tree is growing can be as important as what the dirt it is in does.

If you do fertilize, use ferts, do so at like 1/4 the directed rate of application.
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