StacyAnderson
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:05 pm
Location: Tecumseh Michigan

Help with Chinese Elm PLEASE!

Hi there, I am new to Bonsai and my husband bought me a Chinese Elm for Valentine's Day. I love it, it is so cute. I carefully read the instructions that came with it about care, but I have a question. This morning I noticed some of the leaves are brownish and some are yellow. I tapped the trunk of the tree and all of the above mentioned leaves fell off. Is this normal? How can I fix this? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
_________________
Stacy Anderson
Stacy Anderson

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

Stacy,

It's not normal but neither is it surprising. Often when faced with a new environment a tree will shed some of it's leaves. There are some other factors that might be at play as well. Can you examine, and then describe, the condition of the soil? Would you say that it is dense and peaty or loose and gritty? Is there any loose moss or glued on top dressing present? If so you can go ahead and remove it.

What kind of lighting are you providing? Is it near any source of heat that might dehydrate it or the air around it? And, perhaps most important in the short term, how are you watering it.

Norm

linlaoboo
Green Thumb
Posts: 469
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 5:15 pm
Location: NJ

Some photos may help us see what condition it is in.
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

StacyAnderson
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:05 pm
Location: Tecumseh Michigan

Thanks

Thanks for the reply. The soil is like regular soil, so I would say loose but it has gravel mixed in. I am watering it when the soil gets dry like it said in the directions, so about once a week. I am pouring water on the dirt until it runs out the bottom of the pot, and it has ample drainage. I have it on a window sill (facing East) so it gets light, but not shining on it. And it is not around any source of heat. The instructions that came with it said it prefers about 70 degrees, so I made sure not to place it by heater vents. There is no moss or anything, it has a thin layer of gravel on top of the dirt.
Gnome wrote:Stacy,

It's not normal but neither is it surprising. Often when faced with a new environment a tree will shed some of it's leaves. There are some other factors that might be at play as well. Can you examine, and then describe, the condition of the soil? Would you say that it is dense and peaty or loose and gritty? Is there any loose moss or glued on top dressing present? If so you can go ahead and remove it.

What kind of lighting are you providing? Is it near any source of heat that might dehydrate it or the air around it? And, perhaps most important in the short term, how are you watering it.

Norm
Stacy Anderson

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

Stacy,

Well it seems that nothing is grossly out of whack so it may just be a matter of allowing the tree to settle in to its new environment. Your soil sounds a bit suspect and is something to look into. Potting type soil, even with the addition of gravel, does not drain as well as I would like. The problem is that no matter how much gravel/grit that is incorporated the finer soil around the coarser elements tend to clog things up.

It is better practice to use a coarser mix that is more uniform in size. Bonsai enthusiasts usually sieve their own components, removing the 'fines', before blending or simply purchase a decent soil.

Some extra lighting certainly would not hurt either. This can be as simple as a CFL bulb in an inexpensive clamp on fixture. Not very elegant but quick and easy.

Do you have the possibility of keeping it outside when the weather permits, or is this going to be a strictly indoor tree?

Norm

Return to “Indoor Bonsai Forum”